Four barriers to the global understanding of biodiversity conservation: wealth, language, geographical location and security.
ABSTRACT Global biodiversity conservation is seriously challenged by gaps and heterogeneity in the geographical coverage of existing information. Nevertheless, the key barriers to the collection and compilation of biodiversity information at a global scale have yet to be identified. We show that wealth, language, geographical location and security each play an important role in explaining spatial variations in data availability in four different types of biodiversity databases. The number of records per square kilometre is high in countries with high per capita gross domestic product (GDP), high proportion of English speakers and high security levels, and those located close to the country hosting the database; but these are not necessarily countries with high biodiversity. These factors are considered to affect data availability by impeding either the activities of scientific research or active international communications. Our results demonstrate that efforts to solve environmental problems at a global scale will gain significantly by focusing scientific education, communication, research and collaboration in low-GDP countries with fewer English speakers and located far from Western countries that host the global databases; countries that have experienced conflict may also benefit. Findings of this study may be broadly applicable to other fields that require the compilation of scientific knowledge at a global level.
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ABSTRACT: Although the number and extent of protected areas (PAs) are continuously increasing, their coverage of global biodiversity, as well as criteria and targets that underline their selection, warrants scrutiny. As a case study, we use a global dataset of sea turtle nesting sites (n = 2991) to determine the extent to which the existing global PA network encompasses nesting habitats (beaches) that are vital for the persistence of the seven sea turtle species. The majority of nesting sites (87%) are in the tropics, and are mainly hosted by developing countries. Developing countries contain 82% nesting sites, which provide lower protection coverage compared to developed countries. PAs encompass 25% of all nesting sites, of which 78% are in marine PAs. At present, most nesting sites in PAs with IUCN ratification receive high protection. We identified the countries that provide the highest and lowest nesting site protection coverage, and detected gaps in species-level protection effort within countries. No clear trend in protection coverage was found in relation to gross domestic product, the Global Peace Index or sea turtle regional management units; however, countries in crisis (civil unrest, war or natural catastrophes) provided slightly higher protection coverage of all countries. We conclude that global sea turtle resilience against threats spanning temperate to tropical regions require representative PA coverage at the species level within countries. This work is anticipated to function as a first step towards identifying specific countries or regions that should receive higher conservation interest by national and international bodies.Biological Conservation 05/2014; 173:17–23. DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2014.03.005 · 4.04 Impact Factor
- BioScience 01/2013; 63(12):926-927. DOI:10.1525/bio.2013.63.12.5 · 5.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: As scientific coordinators for the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative, UNU-INWEH’s Dr. Richard Thomas and Dr. Emmanuelle Quillérou are at the Eleventh Conference of Parties for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP11) in Windhoek, Namibia for the launch of the ELD Interim Report. Economic benefits obtained from investing in and applying sustainable land management are often greater than the costs of taking action to prevent and/or reverse land degradation. The ELD Initiative Interim Report reveals that even with incomplete assessments of the total value of ecosystem services provided by land, such investments are socially and environmentally beneficial. In particular, African, Asian, and Central and South American countries need to build their capacity to assess the true economic-value of their land. Current case studies indicate that much of the work in these areas has been undertaken by foreign scientists with limited local involvement. The ELD Initiative will incorporate capacity building activities into its projects to ensure qualified personnel are available in affected countries. There are several options and pathways to address land degradation. Examples include: reforestation, adopting sustainable agriculture, and establishing alternative non-agricultural livelihoods (i.e. eco-tourism). Many economic instruments are available to accomplish this, including: payments for ecosystem services, subsidies, taxes, access to micro-finance and credit, etc. Changes require an enabling environment that has removed technical, political, legal, cultural, social, and environmental barriers. These complementary actions must be sustainable, locally targeted, and provide incentives for appropriate economic action. To achieve this, the ELD Initiative aims to engage an all-encompassing range of stakeholders in discussions. The ELD Initiative will build upon existing methodologies and assessments to design a comprehensive, global, and scalable toolbox for the outlined goals, highlighted in 3 separate reports aimed at the private sector, decision-makers, and the scientific community.09/2013; Economics of Land Degradation Initiative.