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Theme 11: Biodiversity

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A Look Inside Russia's Wildest Nature Reserves—Now Turning 100. Russia’s tumultuous history includes one legacy little known outside its borders—a vast system of protected lands that conservationists have fought for decades to study and protect.

A Look Inside Russia's Wildest Nature Reserves—Now Turning 100

Some are so remote and guarded that few of Russia’s own citizens have ever stepped foot in them. 2017 will mark their 100th anniversary—as well as that of the October revolution that ended the reign of the tsars and created the Soviet Union. To commemorate the anniversary, Russian president Vladimir Putin has officially decreed 2017 to be the "Year of Ecology and Protected Areas.” In January 1917 (technically December 1916, the Soviets later adopted a different calendar), Tsar Nicholas II officially set aside land near Siberia’s Lake Baikal for the Russian Empire’s first zapovednik, or "strict nature reserve. " “No need to remove anything, to add anything, to improve anything,” Kozhevnikov wrote. So, as it turned out, was Nicholas himself. And yet the Barguzin sable didn’t go extinct.

Too Strict to Visit. Why Poor Places Are More Diverse. Erythrina schliebenii. Genetic diversity is our hidden jewel. It is for us to maintain it!

Genetic diversity is our hidden jewel

29 Oct 2014 Biodiversity for food and agriculture is among the earth’s most important resources. Biodiversity is indispensable: be it the insects that pollinate plants, the microscopic bacteria used for making cheese, the diverse livestock breeds used to make a living in harsh environments, the thousands species of fish, and other aquatic species in our lakes, rivers and oceans, or the thousands of varieties of crops that sustain food security worldwide. Genetic resources are the raw materials that local communities and researchers rely upon to improve the quality and output of food production. Biodiversity and genetic resources are essential for achieving nutritional diversity in diets – a diverse food basket – which is important for human health and development. Here are just few of the hard facts: Maintaining biodiversity is our responsibility Maintaining biodiversity for food and agriculture, including genetic resources, is a global responsibility.

What is Agricultural Biodiversity? Biodiversity-infographic.pdf. Www.plantanative.com/sample-chapter.pdf. A Call For Backyard Biodiversity. Common suburban landscapes consist of manicured lawns and nonnative ornamental plants, which provide little nourishment to local fauna.

A Call For Backyard Biodiversity

Acclaimed author and ecologist Douglas Tallamy explains the reasons behind the decline of native flora and fauna, and how we can work to reverse it from our own backyards. Photos and story by Douglas Tallamy You have probably never thought of your property as a wildlife preserve representing the last chance we have to sustain plants and animals that were once common throughout the US. But that is exactly the role our suburban and urban landscapes are now playing – and will play even more in the near future. If this is news to you, it’s not your fault. But no one has taught us that we have forced the plants and animals that evolved in North America (our nation’s biodiversity) to depend more and more on human-dominated landscapes for their continued existence.

We Have Taken It All To nature lovers, these are horrifying statistics. But does this matter? Nature gives us everything free – let's put it at the heart of everyday economic life. Natural capital is everything nature provides us for free.

Nature gives us everything free – let's put it at the heart of everyday economic life

It is what our economy is built upon. We add man-made capital in the shape of houses, factories, offices and physical infrastructure, and human capital with our skills, ideas and science. Natural capital should, therefore, be at the heart of economics and economic policy – but it isn’t. As a consequence we abuse nature, drive species to extinction, and destroy ecosystems and habitats without much thought to the consequences. The damage won’t go away; as we wipe out perhaps half the species on the planet this century and induce significant climate change, the economic growth we take for granted will be seriously impaired. Just as we try to maintain and enhance our own assets – our houses, cars and our knowledge and skills – so too should the broader economy avoid running down its base of natural capital assets.

Unlike the climate change problem, natural capital has a big spatial dimension.