Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity. This year’s theme is ‘We’re part of the solution.’
Biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can begin to tackle issues such as climate change, human health, and food and water scarcity. Biological diversity is a global asset and vital for future generations.
In Australia’s last state of the environment report, published in 2016, it was found that Australia’s biodiversity has rapidly declined and is under threat. While Australia has made some progress in this area, overall, we are still unable to measure the effectiveness of most biodiversity management plans due to poor monitoring and reporting standards. The outlook for Australian biological diversity is poor and is not keeping pace with current increasing pressures. Resources in this area need support, and broader conservation management needs reinvestment if we have a chance at reversing deteriorating trends.
Aotearoa New Zealand’s 2019 state of the environment report found that almost 4,000 native species were threatened with or at risk of extinction and almost two-thirds of the country’s rare ecosystems were nearing collapse. Aotearoa New Zealand has many native species that are found nowhere else in the world. Evolving in isolation means many are especially vulnerable to human activities, diseases from introduced species, and habitat shifts from climate, landscape changes and pollution. The condition of many habitats remains unknown as large gaps in knowledge continue to limit understanding of current and future declines.
The Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) considers biodiversity loss as a critical issue facing Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Loss of valuable biological resources can result in unforeseen consequences in related ecological systems and limits the planet’s ability to support future generations. Biodiversity management should be focused on maintaining functioning ecosystems that support all species. The sustainable management of biodiversity should have the goal of reversing decline to reach a net gain in the extent and quality of ecological communities. It is critical that this goal is benchmarked, monitored, and reported against. The EIANZ asks what progress has been made since the release of reports into the state of the environments in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and encourages governments and decision makers to commit to real action to tackle biodiversity.