Preventing species extinction on islands can be achieved
On December 15, I will start at Island Conservation as the new Global Director for Global Affairs. As the new kid on the block, this is my first comment on the discussion forum. However I have learned, through my 14 years at WWF and 11 years at Conservation International, that in the field of biodiversity conservation, there is a need to be inspirational and demonstrate that degradation can be stopped and that ecosystems can be restored if appropriate actions are taken. The removal of invasive alien vertebrates from islands is one of the most effective tools available for the conservation of island biodiversity; this is an important message to bring to the attention of decision makers, governments, bi- and multi-lateral agencies, foundations, corporates, local communities, indigenous groups. Restoration activities have been undertaken on almost 1,000 islands worldwide, with a 85% success rate. Once invasive vertebrates are removed, island ecosystems recover with little additional intervention. These activities have resulted in the down-listing of species, the come-back of plant species thought to be extinct or extirpated and the ultimate survival of numerous single island endemics.
Many island species have already gone extinct and are unfortunately likely continuing to disappear at a rate exponentially greater than that of terrestrial species. There is however a way to reduced considerably this extinction rate. The removal of invasive invertebrates, the single greatest cause of extinction in the last 500 years, is a proven, effective, lasting and achievable strategy.
This is the message that needs to be convey loud and clear for action to be taken now, by all stakeholders, at all level. Preventing species extinction on islands can be achieved. Under the banner of the CBD this can become a reality and at a global scale and Island Conservationion will continue to mobilize its resources, influence and capacity to achieve this ambitious but achievable goal.
posted on 2011-12-09 20:21 UTC by Mr. Olivier Langrand, Island Conservation