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About IBOY

What is IBOY?
Why do we need IBOY?
What will happen as part of IBOY?
Origin of IBOY



What is IBOY?


What is IBOY?

IBOY is a window in time in which scientists and educators across the world are joining forces to increase communication of important science-based information about biodiversity to a broad audience. IBOY is taking place in the first two years of a century that scientists predict will see unprecedented changes to Earth's ecosystems.

Why do we need an IBOY?

The Earth's biodiversity is a capital resource that provides vital ecosystem services, goods such as food, fuel, fiber and medicines, and the aesthetic, recreational and cultural riches associated with nature. It remains a poorly understood scientific frontier, with an estimated 90% of species yet to be discovered and described.

Alarmingly, this biological diversity is being lost across the planet, at all levels of organization from genes, through species, to landscapes. Some experts predict that up to two-thirds of all plant and animal species may be lost by the end of this century. Biologists generally believe that these losses represent a threat to Earth system functioning and the well-being of human societies.

A concerted effort is required to focus attention on biodiversity. We must learn more about biodiversity and its interdependence with ecosystems and societies. Exploration efforts must be stepped up to discover the extraordinary variety of resources that biodiversity offers. Understanding of how, where and why biodiversity is being lost must be increased so that we can develop effective conservation strategies.

Most importantly, knowledge about biodiversity, its status, trends and interrelationships with societies must be transferred from scientists to public and policy spheres to support informed decision making.


What will happen as part of IBOY?


DIVERSITAS-IBOY 2001-2002 will be a time of celebrating and promoting observations of biological diversity. It will focus global attention on the Earth's biodiversity, its contributions to ecosystems and society, and the voyages of discovery that are revealing its treasures through science, exploration, art, and education.

The IBOY's aims are twofold:

  • promote and integrate biodiversity science, advancing a holistic understanding of biodiversity, and
  • increase communication of science-based information on biodiversity and its links to daily living, to a broad audience.


DIVERSITAS-IBOY is a grassroots effort of the international scientific, education and media communities. At the center of the IBOY is a diverse portfolio of projects that ask:

  • What biodiversity do we have and where is it?
  • How is biodiversity changing?
  • What goods and services does biodiversity provide?
  • How can we conserve biodiversity?

Projects can be international (Core Network Projects), or local to national (Satellite Projects) in scope, and must have a peak of activities and products in 2001-2002.

DIVERSITAS-IBOY projects will:

  • Push the frontiers of biodiversity science
  • Forge links to develop a new cohesive science that can examine biodiversity interrelationships
  • Make new information on biodiversity available to a wide audience
  • Improve transfer of science-based biodiversity information into public spheres
  • Provide focused information for policy makers
  • Encourage public participation in exploration of our natural heritage

Through the core projects the IBOY will provide new information on the three main levels of biological diversity: genes, species, and ecosystems. It will strengthen interdisciplinary and international collaborations, with the aim of providing sound data on the biological, economic, and social implications of trends in biodiversity. These will be fundamental tools for informed decision-making in multiple sectors of society.

Each project participating in IBOY will deliver a product during 2001-2002. Many are initiating longer-term programs and new avenues of communication, extending the benefits of IBOY for years to come.

IBOY does not fund these projects, they are all independently funded and directed. The IBOY Secretariat provides add-on value to the projects by drawing them together in a coalition-building and outreach campaign to:

  • Network biodiversity research, education, and media experts
  • Promote interdisciplinary actions to provide urgently needed information on complex biodiversity issues
  • Explain the benefits of biodiversity to a broad audience

Activities taking place as part of the IBOYs' coalition building and outreach campaign include:

  • Meetings
  • Publications
  • Media campaign
  • Outreach events
  • Biodiversity research clearinghouse


History and Origins of IBOY

The International Biodiversity Observation Year is an initiative of DIVERSITAS, an international program of diversity science, which promotes and synthesizes scientific research on biodiversity. The idea for IBOY originated with DIWPA, a regional arm of DIVERSITAS in the Western Pacific and Asia.

IBOY was launched in March 1998 by the Scientific Steering Committee of DIVERSITAS, and will conclude in 2002 with the public presentation of results from projects participating in IBOY.

Presently the IBOY Steering Committee has eight full-time members and three ex-officio members. Chair of the committee is Dr. Diana Wall, director of the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. An Advisory Board also ensures that IBOY will achieve its aim. Day to day operations of IBOY are managed by Dr. Gina Adams at the IBOY Secretariat, headquartered at Colorado State University, USA.


The IBOY is an initiative of DIVERSITAS. Intellectual sponsorship is provided by the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS), Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). IBOY has been endorsed by the Sixteenth International Botanical Congress (IBC) and the Second World Conservation Congress of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). The Fifth Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) invited parties to participate in the IBOY. Financial sponsorship of IBOY is provided by the US National Science Foundation (NSF) (under Grant No. DEB-0122141), the International Council for Science (ICSU), Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International (CABS), the International Group of Funding Agencies (IGFA), DIVERSITAS, and two anonymous US foundations. We acknowledge the support of the US National Committee for DIVERSITAS and the Board on International Scientific Organizations of the National Research.

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Last updated January 7, 2002

IBOY took place during 2001 and 2002 and is now completed. Information on the projects, activities and products that took place during IBOY are available on these pages. Many of the projects are still continuing their research and education activities and links to their homepages can be found on the project pages.

For more information on on-going activities of IBOY's parent organization, DIVERSITAS, see

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