The range of information on biodiversity currently available via the Internet is reviewed and its accessibility, usefulness and relevance to biodiversity research and to policy decision making assessed. Commercial and non-commercial databases are reviewed. The future of information via the net is also reviewed, in particular the role of the `Clearing House Mechanism' of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Biodiversity Conservation Information System.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The threat posed to coral reefs by biological invasion is unlikely to diminish and should therefore be considered in analyses of the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Global and regional coral reef area statistics are of considerable value in fields ranging from global environmental change to fisheries to conservation. Although widely quoted, Smith's 1978 figure of 600 000rkm2 is only an approximate calculation. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre has prepared a new estimate of reef coverage by mapping emergent reef crest and very shallow reef systems. These data were rasterised, using 1rkm grid squares, as a means of reducing errors arising from variation in scale. Global and regional reef coverages were calculated from the resultant grid. The total global area is estimated at 255 000rkm2, considerably lower than many previous estimates. Variation in reef area estimates is, in part, a function of variation in reef definition.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The countries affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami contain the most diverse and extensive coral reefs and mangroves of the Indian Ocean, and some of the richest in the world. Not only are these ecosystems among the most threatened in the world, they also provide numerous essential ecosystem services.
It is thus not surprising that reefs and mangroves received widespread attention after the tsunami, with three principal questions posed: Are the tsunami's impacts on reefs and mangroves a further threat to their future survival? Did reefs and mangroves play a role in shoreline protection and reduce structural damage and human mortality? How could reconstruction efforts include actions to maintain these ecosystems and reduce further threats to them?Resource Type: Journal Papers
Coral reefs are the most biologically diverse of shallow water marine ecosystems but are being degraded worldwide by human activities and climate warming. Analyses of the geographic ranges of 3235 species of reef fish, corals, snails, and lobsters revealed that between 7.2 and 53.6 of each taxon have highly restricted ranges, rendering them vulnerable to extinction. Restricted-range species are clustered into centers of endemism, like those described for terrestrial taxa. The 10 richest centers of endemism cover 15.8 of the world's coral reefs (0.012 of the oceans) but include between 44.8 and 54.2 of the restricted-range species. Many occur in regions where reefs are being severely affected by people, potentially leading to numerous extinctions. Threatened centers of endemism are major biodiversity hotspots, and conservation efforts targeted toward them could help avert the loss of tropical reef biodiversity.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Since about 1600, 486 animal species have been recorded extinct. This represents about 0.04 of all animal species so far described. In the same period, 600 plant species are known to have disappeared, about 0.25 of the total. These figures are much smaller than those of the Permian/Triassic and Cretaceous/Tertiary mass extinctions. One might therefore conclude that at present life on earth is at comparatively little risk of extinction. However, there is a growing body of data to show that the converse is true.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The forests of eastern Tanzania are a globally important biodiversity hotspot. In this study 361 eastern Tanzanian restricted range forest tree taxa were assessed. Of these taxa, 223 occurred in the Eastern Arc, 150 in Coastal forests, 17 in Northern forests and 21 in the Lake Nyasa forests. The majority of the taxa had restricted elevational ranges with 76.3 occurring in no more than two 200 m elevational bands out of a total potential elevation range of 3000 m. The majority of the taxa occupied a small area in the eastern Tanzanian forests, with 201 taxa being only found at a few sites. In determining priority areas for conservation, selection of taxon definitions can have important effects. For example, tree size varies with elevation, so if only large trees are used then site selection will be biased towards particular areas.Resource Type: Journal Papers
This study demonstrates the utility of carbon isotope discrimination in describing genetic adaptation to arid environments, although it is probably most useful in detecting differentiation when the strategy of the species under investigation is to increase water use efficiency, rather than drought-avoidance. The results suggest that populations on the eastern and western sides of the Andes should be treated as separate management units for the purposes of conserving the genetic resource of this species.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Tropical trees in the genus Aquilaria Lam. are the principal source of gaharu, one of the most valuable forest products traded internationally. Although these species are the focus of increasing conservation concern, information on their status and distribution is lacking. Information from herbarium accessions, a national forest inventory (NFI), field surveys and gaharu traders was used to assess the distribution of Aquilaria species in Indonesia, indicating population concentrations in Sumatra and eastern Kalimantan.
Given current deforestation rates, these data suggest that all Aquilaria species in Indonesia classify as Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List criteria.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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