See also:
» 15.02.2010 - Ethiopia and UK leaders to head climate change team
» 08.02.2010 - $700 million secured for Climate Action
» 02.02.2010 - "Green Fund" for climate change financing
» 02.02.2010 - BirdLife cares for wetlands
» 07.01.2010 - UN strikes biodiversity deal with African soccer giants
» 16.12.2009 - Climate change deal must address hunger, UN expert
» 15.12.2009 - Experts reach conclusion to limit trade on aquatic animals under CITES
» 14.12.2009 - Africa needs stronger regional cooperation, Janneh

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Environment - Nature

Conservation to set up standard language

afrol News, 12 August - Conservation organisations are making plans to set up a common language for biodiversity conservation, to talk about problems encountered in field and potential solutions.

BirdLife's head of Science and co-author of A Standard Lexicon for Biodiversity Conservation, Unified Classifications of Threats and Actions (Conservation Biology), Ali Stattersfield noted that, practitioners need a common language that would enable them to readily talk about their profession.

According to report release by the body today, these classifications will enable conservationists around world to identify threats and potential actions, allocate resources and set priorities.

Authors of A Standard Lexicon for Biodiversity Conservation have merged best elements of previous initiatives by several organisations (including the Conservation Measures Partnership and the IUCN Species Survival Commission) into unified classifications of threats and actions.

For instance, the report shows that when new classifications were applied to 1,191 threatened bird species and 737 conservation projects, they were found to provide an improved way of analysing and comparing information across projects.

Classifications are being distributed to conservation practitioners, organisations and agencies around the world, the report says, adding that they are also being included in several conservation planning tools and databases, including World Bird Database and IUCN's Species Information System.

It further indicates that most importantly, new classifications will facilitate cross-project learning by allowing practitioners to precisely describe chains linking targets, threats, contributing factors as well as actions.

"These can then be shared through common databases of conservation practice, enabling practitioners to share and compare experiences more readily, ultimately leading to the development of a more systematic science of biodiversity conservation," commented Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife's Global Research and Indicators Coordinator.

"Just as it has become accepted scientific practice to refer to species by their scientific name alongside their common name, we hope that conservationists will use the classifications of threats and actions to describe and report on their work around the world," Dr Butchart, added.

He went on to explain how the scheme works in practice, "for example, the Critically Endangered Tuamotu Kingfisher Todiramphus gambieri is threatened by predation and competition from invasive Black Rat Rattus rattus and by cyclones causing loss of nesting trees. The new system allows us to clearly define these threats as 'Invasive and other problematic species' and 'Climate change and severe weather: storms/flooding'. A key conservation action required is the provision of nest boxes to increase the availability of nest-sites. This comes under the action category 'Species recovery: species management.'"

Pioneering research to help biodiversity survive the impacts of climate change across Africa was announced at a workshop in Kigali, Rwanda last month.

The project has mapped current and future distributions of all bird species on mainland Africa by using climate change models to determine distance and direction of shifts for each species in the future.

A particular emphasis of the work is to understand how well Important Bird Areas (IBAs) network in Africa can sustain the continent's bird with future climate change. Dr Julius Arinaitwe, BirdLife International's Regional IBA Manager for Africa, said "There are very few plans to protect biodiversity from the effects of climate change anywhere in the world. BirdLife International is leading the drive to develop strategies to protect our unique wildlife for future generations."

BirdLife's preventing extinctions programme aims to save all 190 critically endangered birds, including the Tuamotu Kingfisher, by finding species champions who will fund work of identified species guardians for each bird.

The Species Guardian for Tuamotu Kingfisher - Société d'Ornithologie de Polynésie (BirdLife in French Polynesia), is currently striving to help save species from extinction.

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