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NJIT Professor Helps Make Case In Science For Better Biodiversity

October 15, 2010

Policy forum article in today’s Science pleads for biodiversity scientists, pleads for biodiversity

In a Policy Forum article in today’s issue of Science, a group of leading biodiversity scientists, including NJIT’s Daniel Bunker, have argued that targets to be met by 2020 under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) must consider the real value of biodiversity if they are to be attained.

“Ecosystem Services for 2020″ outlines how biodiversity can be valued by considering the ecosystem services that biodiversity provides. By incorporating this ecosystem services approach into the CBD targets, signatory nations can better justify and thereby improve biodiversity conservation.

Bunker, an assistant professor in the NJIT Federated Department of Biology is one of the 16 authors of this work.

Members of this group hope their paper will have an impact later this month in Nagoya, Japan at the 10th Conference of the Parties. They hope the outcome of this meeting will be ambitious and achievable CBD goals for 2020. Arizona State University Professor Charles Perrings has led this team effort.

“We hope to convince both the general public and the signatories to the CBD that meaningful biodiversity conservation targets must consider all the values that biodiversity provides through ecosystem services,” said Bunker.

“For instance, forests not only provide timber for economically valued building materials and paper, they also provide clean water, local and global climate regulation, ecotourism opportunities, biomedical breakthroughs, agricultural genotypes, and the protection of culturally valuable wildlife. Because these latter services are typically not bought and sold, their value is often ignored by landowners and policymakers. By placing value on these and all services that biodiversity produces, we will be better positioned to conserve the biodiversity that we so clearly rely upon for human well- being.”

Bunker, an expert in biodiversity, aims to understand the effects of global environmental change on ecological communities and ecosystems. His research topics include the effects of herbivory by deer on forest regeneration, the effects of urbanization on pollinator communities, and the effects of land-use change on bird migration. Bunker received his doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.

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