This year, 2010, has been officially declared to be the International Year for Biodiversity by the United Nations. After thousands of years of agriculture and development (including the resource boom following the industrial revolution), humans have pushed increasing numbers of species to the brink of extinction, and unfortunately, many past the brink. It is estimated today that species are going extinct somewhere between 100 to 1000 times the natural rate of extinction – to say this is alarming would be an understatement.
It’s tremendous the United Nations has recognized our impacts as humans and is using this year to promote awareness about threatened species.
Here’s a quick video of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon introducing the year of biodiversity and summarizing why biodiversity matters:
My particular niche is birds, and more specifically birds that breed in the boreal forest. There are many birds across the boreal forest that are increasingly threatened, including the Rusty Blackbird (90% overall decline), the Canada Warbler (80% overall decline), the American Black Duck (79% overall decline), and unfortunately many others. We have heard the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is interested in working more on boreal-forest issues, and we would welcome any attention and help protecting vital boreal forest regions.
The official launch date is scheduled for January 11 in Germany. It will be exciting to hear how it goes and what we can expect for the rest of the year. Here are a couple more links if you find this kind of stuff interesting: