“Charity begins at home”.
What if we stretch the definition of ‘home’ to encompass the entirety of Earth?
Understandably, this idea may not sit well with everyone. With that in mind we’ve compiled a list of reasons to prioritise international conservation. The next two posts discuss the list in more detail:
• Biodiversity loss is a global problem. Globally speaking, the greatest needs are in tropical developing countries, where impacts are also felt more keenly;
• Much of this need is ‘unmet’ – funding for conservation is limited and biased towards low-priority regions;
• Cost-effectiveness is usually higher in developing countries;
• Some of the greatest opportunities for conservation are international.
The Greatest Needs
By almost any measure, the ‘diversity of life’, as EO Wilson put it, is concentrated in the tropics. Improvements in knowledge and mapping technologies now allow us to visualise this pattern – with stunning results (see image below):
Colour coded number of vertebrate species in the Americas: Saving Species
Tropical countries are losing species and ecosystems faster than anywhere else – as documented in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, IUCN Red List, Living Planet Index, and Ocean Health Index.
In the next post I will explore how this trend affects poor countries and their populations far more than it does our own.
Read Why we support international conservation (Part 2)
Read Why we support international conservation (Part 3)