Saturday, January 2, 2010

International Year of Biodiversity Reading Challenge

January 1 - December 31, 2010

Welcome to the International Year of Biodiversity! This year is dedicated to celebrating the world’s biodiversity and making progress on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which was established at the 1992 Rio “Earth Summit.” The Convention on Biological Diversity, which has been signed by almost every country in the world (*cough* USA *cough*), has three main goals:
  1. To conserve biological diversity
  2. The use biological diversity in a sustainable fashion
  3. To share the benefits of biological diversity fairly and equitably
The parties to the Convention decided to make 2010 their deadline for achieving a “significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss,” and so this year was declared the International Year of Biodiversity.
As a biologist, I naturally couldn’t let this international year go by without putting together a reading challenge for it! By learning more about biodiversity we can better appreciate its value and do more to ensure its protection at home and around the world. To that end I’ve put together a selection of reading challenges for this year:
Basic: 3 books on any biodiversity topic.
Biomes: 3 books about major world ecosystems: open ocean; coral reefs; lakes and rivers; arctic tundra; boreal forests; temperate forests; tropical forests; savannah; grassland/steppe/ deserts.
Branches: 3 books on different life forms: plants; fungi; invertebrates (including insects); reptiles and amphibians; birds; mammals.
Bye-bye: 2 books about endangered or extinct species or about extinction or conservation.
Back yard: Buy 2 or more field guides to your local flora & fauna and get to know your neighbours.
Biodiversity Bonanza: One of each of the above!
I’ve also devised some “field trips” to get you closer to your subject:
Level 1—Indoorsy: Visit a natural history museum or watch a documentary series on biodiversity (e.g. Planet Earth)
Level 2—Outdoorsy: Take a guided walk or hike in a local park. Check park system websites for schedules.
Level 3—Full Granola: Design your own field trip to go birding, botanizing, field-journaling, or whatever you like. Alternatively, join a local natural history club, or take a course in natural history online or at a college or community centre.
To make all this easier I’ve gathered together some helpful resources here, and will be adding to it throughout the year as I make more discoveries. Just below are a number of web resources on the International Year of Biodiversity and biodiversity in general. Further down I’ve posted a collection of suggested books for the reading challenges. I haven’t read them all myself but I tried to pick out titles that come highly recommended. Suggestions are welcome!