Friday, June 29, 2012

Quotes from Experts in Biodiversity Conservation

The IUCN press release of 19th June has issued quotes from IUCN Red List partner organizations. Since these quotes are an expression of the situation with regard to conservation, the quotes are reproduced for their value in advocating the cause of conservation:

Professor Stephen Hopper, Director (CEO and Chief Scientist), Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: 
“Recent work on plant assessments suggests that around 1 in 5 plants are threatened with extinction. Three quarters of the world’s population depends directly on plants for their primary health care. Eighty percent of our calorie intake comes from 12 plant species,”. “If we care about the food we eat, and the medicines we use, we must act to conserve our medicinal plants and our crop wild relatives. There are large gaps in our knowledge and much work needs to be done to secure the future of plants and fungi which are critical to our survival.”

Professor Jonathan Baillie, Director of Conservation Programmes, Zoological Society of London:
“A green economy is one that values all species, whether they have market value or not.”  “To stop the rapid increase of threatened species and ecosystems the Rio + 20 Earth Summit must succeed in laying the foundation of a new development path that values all life.”

Richard Edwards, Chief Executive of Wildscreen, who are working with IUCN to help raise the public profile of the world’s threatened species through the power of wildlife and environmental imagery:
“Expanding both the number and diversity of species assessed on the IUCN Red List is imperative if we are to have a clear understanding of our impact on the natural world.” “The latest update to the IUCN Red List highlights the impacts we are having on the world’s biodiversity, even those species that so many of the human population rely on for food, medicine, clean water, etc. We need to successfully communicate the plight, significance, value and importance of all these species if we are to rescue them from the brink of extinction.”

Dr Russell Mittermeier, IUCN Vice President and President of Conservation International:
“More than half of the snake species identified as threatened with extinction - 57% - are at most risk from habitat loss and degradation. The Malaysian island Pulau Tioman is home to three of the Critically Endangered reptile species – the Pulau Tioman ground snake, Boo-Liat’s kukri snake and a recently described reed snake, Oligodon booliati – that are under threat from development destroying the small area of remaining forest. This could result in their extinction within a decade.” “In cases such as the Vulnerable King Cobra and Burmese Python, to which exploitation is the greatest threat, forest loss is an additional pressure. These two species may in fact be considerably more threatened, but research is urgently needed to confirm this. Ultimately, declines and losses of species are a symptom of broader human pressures on their habitats.”

Dr Stuart Butchart, Global Research Coordinator, BirdLife International:
“With the spotlight shining on Brazil at the Rio+20 conference, it is worrying that almost 100 bird species from the Amazon have been moved to higher categories of threat in the 2012 IUCN Red List following an analysis by BirdLife International on the impacts of projected Amazonian deforestation.”

Mary Klein, president and CEO of NatureServe:
“We find cause for hope in the rediscovery of species even in the United States, like the Wicker Ancylid from Alabama's Coosa River valley.”  "But by highlighting how many species still face ongoing local and global threats, the current update to the Red List underscores the fundamental need to continue and even expand efforts to assess extinction risks to species.”

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