Global biodiversity conference opens in Indonesia

08:55, July 19, 2010      

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The 2010 International Meeting of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) opened on Monday in Indonesia's Bali province amid growing concerns that the world is facing a biodiversity crisis on an unprecedented scale, a press statement said here.

Theme of this year's meeting is Tropical biodiversity: surviving the food, energy and climate crisis, as habitat destruction from agricultural expansion and climate change is likely to lead to the mass extinction of irreplaceable plant and animal species.

"Crisis is a much overused term," said Dr Terry Sunderland of the Bogor based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and a member of the conference organizing committee. "But in terms of global biodiversity at this point, I think it entirely justified. For Indonesia, with its extraordinary wealth of plant and animal life, this crisis is acute."

Sunderland said that biodiversity loss is a time bomb that has the potential to severely damage the global systems that sustain life on earth.

"We are all an integral part of nature; our fates tightly linked with biodiversity. Yet this rich resource is being lost at a greatly accelerated rate because of human activities. This impoverishes us all and weakens the ability of the living systems, on which we depend, to resist growing threats such as climate change," he said

Adi Basukriadi of Universitas Indonesia and chair of the organizing committee said that people have an urgent task to mainstream biodiversity and make the issue a critical part of the national development agenda.

The meeting will run until July 23.

Biodiversity includes not just plant and animal species but also the variety of genes and ecosystems on the planet. It is disappearing faster than at any time since the demise of the dinosaurs. The implications are profound, for humanity and for efforts to tackle poverty and climate change.

The United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity.

Source: Xinhua


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