Deserts: a neglected ecosystem
9 Apr 2013 – 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm
This event has already taken place
Deserts cover more than 17% of the world’s land mass yet are among the most poorly understood biomes. Their relatively low productivity, driven by low rainfall, supports low abundances of wildlife, and hence they tend not to attract the attention of conservationists, particularly in the current global focus on biodiversity hotspots and delivery of ecosystem services. Yet, considering the harsh environment, biodiversity is relatively high - deserts support 25% of global terrestrial vertebrates - but this biodiversity is more threatened and declining faster than biodiversity in other biomes. In the Sahara alone, over-hunting and habitat degradation have led to a rapid decline in biodiversity over the last hundred years. Of 11 species of large vertebrate found in the region, two are extinct in the wild – the scimitar-horned oryx and North African hartebeest - and 5 are endangered or critically endangered. The loss of such important and evocative biodiversity has gone largely unnoticed by the rest of the world. Securing the protection of the areas where these species still survive is now an extremely urgent imperative. This necessitates a change of focus from conservationists, to encompass biodiversity in all ecosystems, not just productive ones.
The meeting will highlight the massive declines in desert biodiversity over the past 100+ years and the lack of conservation attention, relative to other ecosystems, that deserts receive despite these declines.
Life on the edge: wildlife of the Sahara (13.4 MB) John Newby audio (19.1 MB)
John Newby, CEO, Sahara Conservation Fund
Wildlife livestock and people – implications for conservation in the Sahara (3.5 MB) Tim Wacher audio (17.0 MB)
Tim Wacher, Zoological Society of London
Desert livelihood systems: people, conservation and security
Jeremy Swift, Visiting Fellow, International Institute of Environment and Development
This meeting will be chaired by Chris Ransom, Conservation Programmes, Zoological Society of London
This event in the 'Wildlife Conservation' series will begin at 6.00pm (doors from 5.00pm) and talks are scheduled to finish at 7.45pm; admission is free and open to everyone (no advance booking or registration required). This event will be held in the ZSL Meeting Rooms and seats will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Further Information: please contact Megan Orpwood-Russell, Scientific Meetings Coordinator, Zoological Society of London, Regents Park, London NW1 4RY.
Tel:+44 (0)20 7449 6227. Fax: +44 (0)20 7449 6411. E-mail: email@example.com.
ZSL Science and Conservation Events: An essential part of ZSL's work is to communicate relevant, high-quality zoological and conservation science. The integrated ZSL Science and Conservation Events programme includes Symposia, and the new 'Wildlife Conservation' and 'Communicating Science' series. Topics cover a wide variety of zoological and conservation themes, and international experts present and discuss their research.