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Страницы223 - 230 Опубликовано 2010-12-28 Опубликовано на SciPeople2011-05-26 09:56:28 ЖурналAfrican Invertebrates

African Invertebrates in the International Year of Biodiversity.
Hamer, M. / Mike Mostovski
Аннотация The United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity to celebrate biodiversity, increase understanding about how biodiversity is critical for sustaining life on Earth, and to highlight the ongoing and increasing loss of biodiversity. The emphasis of this campaign is on people and biodiversity, and the monetary value of biodiversity in terms of goods and services, rather than the traditional focus on saving iconic threatened species and ecosystems. The change in emphasis away from species conservation may seem misdirected; we monitor biodiversity by tracking the number of species that have gone extinct and by the number of threatened species, species make up ecosystems, which provide people with services, and species are directly used by people. However, if we reflect on the progress made in terms of the commitments by governments at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 "to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth", it is evident that the targets have not been met. Threatened species have become more threatened, natural habitats continue to decline, and the ecological footprint of humans exceeds that of the 2010 target. In addition, conservation and sustainable use are usually not integrated into national policies, and biodiversity is not considered when there are major plans for development. The driving factors of biodiversity loss have not been addressed. These were the main conclusions in The Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 document (Secretariat of the CBD 2010). The realisation in this report that "We can no longer see the continued loss of, and changes to, biodiversity as an issue separate from the core concerns of society: to tackle poverty, to improve the health, prosperity and security of our populations, and to deal with climate change" is a fundamental shift in the way that conservationists and scientists approach activities around biodiversity. Perhaps the International Year of Biodiversity also provides an opportunity for biologists, particularly taxonomists working on African invertebrates, to reflect on our contributions to biodiversity conservation and to consider real integration of the discipline into biodiversity conservation. Invertebrates comprise the bulk of biodiversity at both biomass and species levels (1,359,367 or 72 % of all described species), and they play critical roles in the functioning of all ecosystems, so there is no doubt that invertebrates are a major component of biodiversity. They also remain a neglected component relative to the far less diverse chordates (64,788 species) and plants (297,857 species), with 75% of the 18,000 new species described in 2007 being invertebrates and an estimated 5,396,465 invertebrate species still remaining to be described globally (Chapman 2009). In the IUCN Countdown 2010 scoping paper for the southern African subregion, the assessment of species diversity by taxon excludes estimates of species richness or threatened species for invertebrates, and this reflects the lack of awareness of the significance of invertebrates and also the paucity of accessible, co-ordinated information. One of the major arguments used in promoting surveys, inventories and taxonomy is the need to know what species are present in an area before they can be conserved or used. Invertebrate taxonomists in Africa and international scientists working on the fauna of the region have for decades explored and documented the diversity through revisions and descriptions. Scientific journals such as African Invertebrates (formerly Annals of the Natal Museum) have a long history of consistently publishing this research. African Invertebrates provides taxonomists with an opportunity to broadcast their research both nationally and internationally. Its current Impact Factor (1.216) brings the journal to amongst the three most highly cited scientific periodicals in South Africa, showing that material published in African Invertebrates is in high demand. Each issue of the journal gives life to dozens of new scientific names, traditionally supplementing species descriptions with much-needed identification keys and often with an assessment of the conservation status of invertebrate taxa.
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