Thursday, 19 September 2013

Ian Denholm's on-line Q&A. 

Ian Denholm on Harris 2013
Image: L. Marsh
Yesterday's on-line Q&A on biodiversity decline went very well, with Ian Denholm fielding questions on agri-environment schemes, invasive organisms threatening native species, CAP reform, globalisation and even the impact of the badger cull! But Ian's answer to the very first question, about whether biodiversity decline is, in fact, happening, set the tone. 

He pointed out that "To assess biodiversity decline, we need quantitative data on exactly what changes are occurring. The most recent and comprehensive report is State of Nature, co-ordinated by RSPB." BSBI contributed to this report and offered a presentation at the launch. And for plants, many of the data to which Ian refers are plant records, collected by BSBI members, which now sit in the BSBI database (one of the world's largest biological databases).

Asked about the future biodiversity of the UK, Ian said he was "optimistic that we can arrest many of the declines, given the momentum and public support for conservation. However it isn't feasible to reverse all the decades of intensification and industrialisation that has led to such a widespread transformation of the UK countryside."     

You can see a full transcript of the Q&A here and Ian's fellow panellist Richard Harrington has Blogged about the experience here. Ian has been asked to join Sense about Science's Plant Science Panel, so watch out for future Q&As.