Biodiversity conservation depends on scale: Lessons from the science-policy dialogue

Aug 30, 2012

The year 2010 marked the deadline for the political targets to significantly reduce and halt biodiversity loss. The failure to achieve the 2010 goal stimulated the setting up of new targets for 2020. In addition, preventing the degradation of ecosystems and their services has been incorporated in several global and the EU agendas for 2020. To successful meet these challenging targets requires a critical review of the existing and emerging biodiversity policies to improve their design and implementation, say a team scientists in a paper published in the open access journal Nature Conservation.

These and other questions of increasing the "scale-awareness" of policy makers have been actively discussed at a special SCALES symposium at the 3rd European Congress of (ECCB) in Glasgow on 28th-31st of August 2012. The lead author Dr Riikka Paloniemi from the Environmental Policy Centre, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), in Helsinki, Finland, said: "The policies that regulate biodiversity protection and management operate at many administrative levels, employ a range of instruments at different scales, and involve a variety of governmental and non-governmental actors. These actors often have different insights as to what constitutes a scale-challenge and how to deal with it, inevitably leading to contrasting opinions."

"The question of scale has never been so acute before. Neglecting the spatial and temporal scale at which ecosystems functions when designing may lead to long-standing , and the failure of the 2010 target is one of the best examples of that" added Dr Klaus Henle from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ in Leipzig, Germany and coordinator of SCALES.

The main conclusion of the scientists is that scale-related problems, and their potential solutions, are all about improving our understanding of complexity of the processes. Dealing with a number of different scales and scale-mismatches in biodiversity is challenging; it requires an analytical and political framework that is able to assess the adverse impacts of global change, and to implement the relevant policies at the relevant scale.

Explore further: GMO mosquito plan sparks outcry in Florida

More information: Paloniemi R, Apostolopoulou E, Primmer E, Grodzinska-Jurcak M, Henle K, Ring I, Kettunen M, Tzanopoulos J, Potts S, van den Hove S, Marty P, McConville A, Simila J (2012) Biodiversity conservation across scales: lessons from a science–policy dialogue. Nature Conservation 2: 7-19. doi: 10.3897/natureconservation.2.3144

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Plants protect from climate impacts

Aug 02, 2011

Native vegetation must be restored to protect Australia’s unique ecosystems from the impacts of climate change, according to scientists from the Australian National University.

Code RED for biodiversity

Oct 14, 2010

While not an outright failure, a 2010 goal set by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for staunching the loss of the world's species fell far short of expectations for "The International Year of Biodiversity."

Politics are a key factor in biodiversity

Jun 09, 2010

Political decisions are among the main driving forces that influence the survival of biodiversity. They have a direct impact on decisions in key areas of man's interaction with nature and the countryside, ...

Global warming may bring mass species loss

Apr 11, 2006

A study by U.S. and Canadian scientists confirms earlier dire predictions of species loss, concluding global warming could spark mass species extinctions.

Europe faces extinction of many species, EU says

May 16, 2011

(AP) -- The Iberian lynx that prowls the grasslands of southern Spain. The Mediterranean monk seal swimming waters off Greece and Turkey. The Bavarian pine vole that forages in the high meadows of the Alps.

Recommended for you

'Tiger heavyweight' Nepal hosts anti-poaching summit

5 hours ago

Nepal's success in turning tiger-fearing villagers into their protectors has seen none of the endangered cats killed for almost three years, offering key lessons for an anti-poaching summit opening in Kathmandu ...

GMO mosquito plan sparks outcry in Florida

Jan 31, 2015

A British company's plan to unleash hordes of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida to reduce the threat of dengue fever and other diseases has sparked an outcry from fearful residents.

Population genomics unveil seahorse domain

Jan 30, 2015

In a finding vital to effective species management, a team including City College of New York biologists has determined that the lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) is more a permanent resident of the we ...

Researchers develop new potato cultivar

Jan 30, 2015

Dakota Ruby is the name of a new potato cultivar developed by the NDSU potato breeding project and released by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. Dakota Ruby has bright red skin, stores well and is intended ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.