As the planet’s biodiversity continues to shrink, so does our ability to conserve and preserve it.
It’s a problem that’s being tackled in the form of the National Biogeochemical Survey (NBS), a global initiative to identify and quantify the biological diversity of Australia’s environment.
The survey is being led by University of New South Wales scientist Dr Paul Hochhuth and funded by the National Environment and Heritage Foundation (NEHF).
It aims to inform policy making, including how to protect biodiversity.
The National Biogenetic Survey is an initiative to collect the biosecurity of Australia.
Photo: Louise Kennerley The NBS is looking at the number of organisms present in Australia’s oceans, freshwater, soil, forests and grasslands.
It will also collect data on how the Earth is changing, and will use that information to help inform conservation strategies.
Dr HochHuth says that over the past 30 years, the biodiversity of Australia has been on the decline.
“The numbers are decreasing, and we’re in the midst of a period of unprecedented population pressure,” he said.
“If we do not have the right policies in place, the rate of biodiversity loss is likely to continue for decades to come.” “
Dr HohHuth and his team have identified the number and types of species in Australia, and they have also identified what they call “core” species, those that are still present. “
If we do not have the right policies in place, the rate of biodiversity loss is likely to continue for decades to come.”
Dr HohHuth and his team have identified the number and types of species in Australia, and they have also identified what they call “core” species, those that are still present.
These include the iconic, common species such as turtles and the rarer, more endangered species such the red snapper and the sandpiper.
“Most of our core species are not seen in the wild anymore, and if we’re not doing something about that, we’ll lose these iconic species that are so important for our biodiversity,” he says.
The key to stopping biodiversity loss Dr HanchHuth said one of the challenges was understanding where and how species are moving.
“Our understanding of biodiversity is a bit like an encyclopaedia, with all the species we’ve identified and their relationships to one another,” he explains.
The researchers say the NBS survey will help the government and industry work out how to best manage the global shift towards a biosecurrent, where species are in the environment, but are also being driven by their own ecosystems. “
Understanding where the species are living and their migratory patterns can be a huge help in identifying key species and where we can conserve them.”
The researchers say the NBS survey will help the government and industry work out how to best manage the global shift towards a biosecurrent, where species are in the environment, but are also being driven by their own ecosystems.
Dr Kevin Kelly from the Australian National University, who was involved in the NBD study, says one of its key findings is that species in the Australian environment are more likely to be affected by climate change.
“That is why we need to take action to conserve biodiversity,” Dr Kelly said.
In the NBSD survey, scientists identified five core species.
“So far, we’ve mapped out an estimated 6,000 species, which is almost a quarter of the total biodiversity on the planet,” Dr HichHuth explained.
“And of those 6,00 species, just over half are now threatened with extinction.”
Dr Kelly says that with the NBRS data, we can now make a better prediction of where and when the most vulnerable species will be.
“With the NBNSS data, the number one indicator is the extent to which species are threatened with either extinction or in the process of extinction,” he explained.
Photo : Louise Kenneertley The researchers believe the Nbs survey will also help the Government and industry plan for a “future of conservation” in the 21st century.
“I think we need a lot more science around our future, and more science in terms of biodiversity,” says Dr Kelly.
Dr Kelly also says that while the survey is important, it will not give us a clear picture of what is really happening on our planet.
“But I think we can get some useful information about what we need for our future,” he concludes.
The study is currently being conducted in the western part of the country, in the Kimberley and the Goldfields.
Dr Paul Cavanagh from the University of Tasmania says that the survey will show us that we need more than just biodiversity management.
“This survey is going to give us some useful insights into how we can make better decisions about how we manage our environment,” he told News.au.
“Biodiversity is not a simple concept, and it will take some good science to understand how to better manage biodiversity.”