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
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
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
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.
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.
- Push the frontiers of biodiversity
- 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
- Explain the benefits of
biodiversity to a broad audience
Activities taking place as
part of the IBOYs' coalition building and outreach campaign include:
- Media campaign
- Outreach events
- Biodiversity research clearinghouse
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
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
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,
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
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