Friday linksfest: monitoring biodiversity from space and the rising tide of rubber plantations

This week Nathalie Pettorelli and colleagues published an interesting piece in Nature defining the metrics we need to track biodiversity from space.  The Convention on Biological Diversity goals for 2020 are ambitious (but equally vague), and tracking progress on these is often hindered by a lack of data. Here the authors define 10 variables that could be regularly measured from space to fill this gap. Perhaps, most importantly it is also suggested that conservation organisations and space agencies agree on these variables. Doing so would be a big leap forward in developing a global monitoring system for biodiversity.

A couple of upcoming workshops to be held in Glasgow and London in September just came to my attention. These workshops are run by Sense about Science and cover how to communicate science to a broader audience, especially in the media.

A new paper out in Global Environmental Change shows that rising demand for tires is driving increased conversion of South East Asian forest to rubber plantations. Plantations are now eating away at protected areas with over 70% of Snoul Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia cleared for rubber during 2009-2013.  Potential solutions are similar to those for Oil Palm – prohibition of clearance of forest and  incentivisation to use degraded, unforested land.

Anyone heading to the Society for Conservation Biology ICCB conference in Montpellier should check out the conference’s official app – now available for android or iphone users. Not sure whether the app is much good, haven’t had any chance to play with it yet. I’m really looking forward to the meeting and meeting some new people doing cool work. Give me a shout if you are going to be there.

Edit: Just realised I completely forgot to mention our new paper in Forest Ecology and Management on the impacts of selective tropical logging on tropical forest carbon and biodiversity. Interestingly (and controversially) we show that we may need more evidence to prove the benefits of the widely advocated method of Reduced Impact Logging.

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