Climate change threatens biodiversity

Research recommendations on the sustainable use of biodiversity adopted

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Europe must come closer together in research to survive the challenges of climate change. This is the conclusion of an international conference on the European Biodiversity Strategy. For especially in the agricultural landscapes are expected in the coming years, strong changes. The aim must therefore be to slow down the decline in plant and animal species by 2010 in order to preserve biodiversity as an important resource for the future.


Polar bear Knut has a lot to do: As a mascot, he must point out the dangers of climate change and at the same time symbolize the worldwide loss of animal and plant species and ecosystems. This also makes it clear that environmental problems no longer have to be considered alone but increasingly in the overall context. It is not enough to conserve biodiversity in protected areas alone, but it also needs to be protected where sustainable use of nature is concerned, to meet man's needs for nature and its services, such as food production and water conservation become.

European platform

In order to discuss the priority research topics in the field of the sustainable use of biodiversity, the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS) met at the beginning of May at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig. It is composed of members from many European countries and regularly prepares research recommendations for European and national biodiversity issues. Important here is the joint work of scientists and experts from politics and administration.

The experts emphasize in their findings that the need for integrative research across disciplines and in direct collaboration with policymakers and social groups is more important than ever to address the new environmental threats. The agricultural landscape and its biodiversity in Europe, for example, pose completely new challenges due to the emerging climate change in combination with the foreseeable and sharp increase in the cultivation of "energy crops". The development of policies is still strongly influenced by sectoral thinking, while in the face of dangers more adaptation strategies have to be worked out which, in addition to different social interests, also take into account the effects of different environmental threats. display

UN Convention on Biological Diversity

Sustainable use is also becoming more and more in the focus of global biodiversity conservation. However, there is still a lack of sufficient data to record the effects of use and overuse on biodiversity. There is a lack of resources and political will in this area, as well as in the implementation of, for example, the establishment and maintenance of a worldwide protected area system, as decided under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Thus, research can make an important contribution here - in monitoring activities as well as in the development of integrative approaches to the use of biological diversity.

The political will to be more active here is reflected in the "Potsdam Declaration on Biodiversity 2010", adopted by the Environment Ministers of the G8 + 5 in March 2007: The Declaration addresses many of the essential issues of biodiversity loss and emphasizes that The role of science, including by supporting the initiative of a global body of experts on biodiversity following the IPCC in the field of climate change. Crucial here, however, is an aggressive, strongly integration-oriented support for the relevant research. For the polar bear, the humans and the many millions of other species on earth.

(Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research - UF, 10.05.2007 - AHE)