The confluence between Europe, Asia and Africa is one of the biological wonders of the world. Here biodiversity hotspots from several temperate and tropical biomes meet; the lands and seas are especially rich in natural variety, unique life forms and landforms and distinctive geographies. Biodiversity, from genetic to landscape levels, is rich here. This biodiversity forms part of “cultural landscapes”, ecosystems have been sculpted both by natural forces and the influence of humankind for millennia. This unique global heritage is threatened by many modern human pressures, mismanagement and ignorance.
Nature in the East needs help!
The confluence between Africa-Asia-Europe is the birthplace of modern humankind and of many civilizations. Different traditional cultures often share a deep reverence for nature; yet modern societies in the East are dealing with rapid change and challenging natural resources problems, including complex political conflicts and crises. The result is that wild nature is often forgotten; and we see widespread degradation, biodiversity impoverishment, and unhealthy ecosystems. Mismanagement is often the result of poor planning. Strategic nature conservation and eco-development is often an unmet need. We urge more and better conservation science, conservation education and outdoor, nature-based recreation and ecotourism as important attributes of sustainable development. Many of these concepts and their applications are still poorly developed in the East. Despite important inroads set in some countries, there are still many opportunities for successful conservation-based work that may lead to public awareness building, public support for conservation, environmental sustainability and ecosystem health.
For us a deeper understanding of biodiversity is based on natural history study and promotion of community awareness of natural history. Natural history study inspires a descriptive kind of science based on inventory and holistic understanding. We know that natural history understanding is an important aspect of education, personnel training, and public awareness. It even influences national pride and cultural development. We need more nature in our lives….in the East. And we need to effectively protect biodiversity in all its levels, from evolutionary significant populations to the complex cultural landscape.
why we work together for biodiversity...
- We are living a “biodiversity crisis” especially on the coasts, near cities, in aquatic environments and even in many protected-areas that are often mismanaged and threatened in practice.
- Nature is now usually far from where we live, since urban centers are expanding. We need more nature in our lives, for our families, our children and for our cultures!
- Conservation action requires more support in the East–relevant planning, interpreting, promoting, advertizing nature.
- We need to re-learn to study nature. Can we bring back natural history study in schooling, training, protected areas management, and in ecotourism? Can we educate, train, and develop naturalists?
- Nature increases our quality of life. Can we bring more quality of life value to day-to-day living through nature-based recreation, outdoor education and other passive and appreciative nature activities?
- With respect for nature, we strive to change cultural values, change communities’ awareness. We even strive to change ourselves in order to become more effective for nature conservation in practice (not just in what we say as scientists and naturalists).