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Media Release


Safeguarding Biodiversity a Global Priority

An ongoing and concerted effort needs to be made to stop and reverse the loss and degradation of the worlds biodiversity according to the latest United Nations assessment of the global environment, the fifth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5) which was released in Rio de Janeiro on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit. The report found that the rate of loss of biodiversity is still high and increasing in some parts of the world with around 20 per cent of vertebrate species under threat. Natural habitats have also been shrinking by more than 20 per cent since the 1980s due to the pressures of widespread agricultural production. Director of Charles Sturt Universitys Institute for Land, Water and Society and biodiversity expert, Professor Max Finlayson, and co-ordinating lead author of the reports chapter on biodiversity says its time to translate knowledge into action. Unfortunately Australia has a very bad record of biodiversity loss but we do have a strong base of science and information. Its now time to take what we know and translate that into creating tools to help reverse the loss and safeguard our biodiversity for the future, said Professor Finlayson. Professor John Rodger, designated CEO for the proposed Safeguarding Biodiversity Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) says the report highlights the need for urgent action. This week the Safeguarding Biodiversity CRC will be submitting our bid for federal funding to establish a Cooperative Research Centre to address these threats to biodiversity. Time is running out and we need to act now, said Professor Rodger. The Safeguarding Biodiversity CRC would have a head office at the University of Newcastle and close to 30 member organisations across Australia and New Zealand, including Charles Sturt University. Professor Rodger said the establishment of the Safeguarding Biodiversity CRC would address some of the issues raised in the GEO-5 report. Our aim is to pool the vast resources and knowledge of researchers, scientists, zoos, universities and land mangers across Australia and New Zealand. The CRC will develop the tools to help rebuild wildlife populations, restore function to damaged ecosystems and develop tools to identify and anticipate future threats to biodiversity. Attempts to restore, rebuild and relocate wildlife populations often fail, we need to know more so that the resources invested in conservation will make a difference, explained Professor Rodger. ENDS For interviews with Professor John Rodger, please contact Leigh Buckland on 0411 602 897 For interviews with Professor Max Finlayson, please contact Margrit Beemster on 02 6051 9653