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Applying the Hard Lessons of Coronavirus to the Biodiversity Crisis

I attended one of three major biodiversity planning meetings this February, originally scheduled for China, but relocated to Rome. The day I arrived, there were three cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 in northern Italy. Two days later there were 21, and five days later there were 229. I left the fifth day, without even attending the primary workshop. A colleague teased me, and I worried that I had over-reacted. From my early training in public health, I suspected this was not just a distant wave, but an unstoppable tsunami that would soon crash upon the world. A few short weeks later, the magnitude of this tsunami became clear, a once-in-a-century crisis that threatens to upend every society on earth.

This year was supposed to be a ‘Super Year for Nature,’ with a number of global meetings; a World Conservation Congress, a UN Ocean Conference, and a UN Nature Summit – all culminating in a global biodiversity conference that would agree on a decade-long ‘Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework‘. 

 

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Levels of Biodiversity

Finally, biodiversity is having a moment.

At the UN Climate Action Summit in September, Emmanuel Faber, CEO of Danone, announced the launch of the One Planet Business for Biodiversity (OP2B) coalition, stating, “We thought we could engineer the life that we needed and kill the rest in the fields. The resulting monocropping consequences are standing right in front of us.”

Government and large-scale business decision-makers are coming to terms with two sides of a coin of ecological reality: Biodiversity has immense inherent value on our planet, AND the ongoing devastation of biodiversity will drastically decrease global human quality of life.

Biodiversity is a key factor in the earth’s provision of ecosystem services — including biomass production, nutrient and water cycling, and soil formation and retention — but the ongoing, mounting losses to biodiversity are not simply an environmental issue. The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services states that “Current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems will undermine progress towards 80% of the Sustainable Development Goals, related to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities, climate, oceans and land.”

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Hornbill Hunting Impacts Spread of Forests

Author: PTI

NEW DELHI: Hunting down hornbills has a direct impact on the spread of forests as the bird is known for its seed dispersal abilities, a study has found.

The study was conducted by the Indian Institute of Science and Mysore-based Nature Conservation Foundation in Namdapha Tiger Reserve and Miao reserve forest in Arunachal Pradesh. The Namdapha Tiger Reserve is the third largest national park in the country in terms of area. The Miao reserve forest is located to the west of Namdapha National park. Both are known for hornbill sightings. The former is a known to be a well-protected area, while the latter is hugely disturbed.

The Namdapha Tiger Reserve is the third largest national park in the country in terms of area. The Miao reserve forest is located to the west of Namdapha Tiger Reserve.

The study indicated steep decline in both fruiting plants and hornbills, and very low rates of seed dispersal in the disturbed Miao reserve forest, as compared to the Namdapha Tiger Reserve.

Keep Reading in The Economic Times