April 30, 2010

World Leaders Failing To Protect Biodiversity

Despite a 2002 pledge by world leaders to help curb the global rate of biodiversity loss within an eight year period, declines in biodiversity have grown at an "alarming" rate, according to a new study published online in the journal Science on Friday.

"In 2002, world leaders committed through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010," the researcher write in their report. "We compiled 31 indicators to report on progress toward this target."

Among those indicators were species' population trends, extinction risk, habitat extent/condition, resource consumption, nitrogen pollution, overexploitation, and climate change impacts. According to the team, which was led by Dr. Stuart Butchart of the United Nations Environment Program World Conservation Monitoring Center and BirdLife International, most categories showed "no significant recent reductions in rate" while some factors even showed increases.

"The rate of biodiversity loss does not appear to be slowing," the report concludes.

"Our analysis shows that governments have failed to deliver on the commitments they made in 2002: biodiversity is still being lost as fast as ever, and we have made little headway in reducing the pressures on species, habitats and ecosystems," Dr. Butchart said in an April 30 press release.

"Our data show that 2010 will not be the year that biodiversity loss was halted, but it needs to be the year in which we start taking the issue seriously and substantially increase our efforts to take care of what is left of our planet," he added.

The study was compiled by the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership--a team of over 40 different international organizations, including the Zoological Society of London, the National Water Research Institute, the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, the Global Footprint Network, WWF International, and biology, zoology, and environmental science departments at several major universities.


On the Net: