Conserving biodiversity needs more than just biology
In 2002, 190 nations committed themselves to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. One approach to measuring progress towards this goal is developing indicators of the status of biodiversity and of ecosystems.
In this article in Science, Andrew Balmford and colleagues say developing such indicators is not enough. They say we also need a better understanding of how biodiversity, humanity, and the Earth's physical and chemicals components interact. To incorporate these factors, the biodiversity conservation community will need to take greater account of social sciences, geology and geochemistry.
The fact that countries richest in species tend to be poorly equipped to research and monitor their biodiversity means capacity needs to be built in this field.
Broadening the science of biodiversity loss should be accompanied by efforts to improve its rigour and relevance to policy, while also increasing public awareness, say the authors.
And policymakers may need to be more radical, striving to halt — rather than just slow — the loss of biodiversity and to actively restore ecosystems.
Reference: Science 307 (2005)