Communication Vital to Stem Biodiversity Loss

David Dickson, Director of, has written a very interesting piece on the network’s website, discussing the importance of effective science communication in stemming the loss of biodiversity. He states that scientists and others working to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change face ‘formidable challenges’ in presuading political leaders and the public to take action. In part, he says, the failure to tackle biodiversity loss effectively to date, missing the 2010 biodiversity target to achieve “a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss”, is due to poor communication on the part of scientists and the media.

Mr Dickson criticises the scientific community for poorly articulating the importance of biodiversity to decision-makers, relating it to people’s everyday lives and concerns. New targets agreed at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya, Japan, in October this year, must be accompanied by a ‘sophisticated communications strategy’ to avoid a continuation of this mistake. ‘Biodiversity’ as a term is itself flawed, he argues, lacking concreteness which could galvanise public support. In moving forwards, the piece argues, scientists should firm up the science behind an understanding of biodiversity and its importance and must embed this science in viable, sustainable, economic growth and development strategies. Media coverage must relate biodiversity to people’s concerns such as jobs, health and food.

The BES and Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management launched a position statement on halting UK biodiversity loss in October 2009. Read more here.