Hundreds of scientists are gathered in Oakland this week to share ideas on how to stem the tide of extinctions among plants and animals. On opening night of the inaugural North American Congress for Conservation Biology, they got an earful from Michael Soulé, professor emeritus at UC Santa Cruz, founder of the Wildlands Network and the Society for Conservation Biology. Considered the “father” of conservation biology, Soule is concerned that the work he started is getting bogged down in the lab. I sat down to talk with him at the conference. Read More
Humans have dramatically altered wildlands in the western United States over the past 100 years by using these lands and the resources they provide. Anthropogenic changes to the landscape, such as urban expansion and development of rural areas, influence the number and kinds of plants and wildlife that remain. In addition, western ecosystems are also affected by roads, powerlines, and other networks and land uses necessary to maintain human populations. The cumulative impacts of human presence and actions on a landscape are called the “human footprint.” These impacts may affect plants and wildlife by increasing the number of synanthropic (species that benefit from human activities) bird and mammal predators and facilitating their movements through the landscape or by creating unsuitable habitats. These actions can impact plants and wildlife to such an extent that the persistence of populations or entire species is questionable.
A group of researchers and photographers have started a 15-day biodiversity survey in the virgin forest of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The team will use cameras to record endangered species in Lulang Forest of Nyingchi prefecture in the southeast of Tibet, an area known for its rich biodiversity including all major vegetation of the northern hemisphere. Read More
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today added 20 new sites to its global list of biosphere reserves, bringing the total to 599 in 117 countries.
A landmark conference has agreed key priorities for harnessing the power of information technologies and social networks to understand better the workings of life on Earth, focussing on how biodiversity can continue to sustain human lives and livelihoods. The Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference (GBIC), gathering some 100 experts from around the world from 2-4 July, identified critical areas in which greater investment and better coordination could give society much better, innovative tools to monitor and manage biological resources. These tools will be designed to support vital functions such as food security, human health and more sustainable economic development. Read More