Nature presents a supplement on biodiversity, in this International Year of Biodiversity. As nations come together to reduce the alarming loss of species taking place worldwide, we hope that these features, opinion pieces, News & Views articles and original research papers will provide a useful snapshot of the problems faced and solutions proposed. All the articles in this supplement are free to read online for six months from the publication date, and a free print copy can be requested.
From the supplement’s Editorial: "The rich variety of the natural world that Charles Darwin memorably imagined as an “entangled bank”, and that E. O. Wilson labelled “biodiversity”, is in crisis. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) calculates that one-fifth of mammals and nearly one-third of amphibians are threatened with extinction. Some estimate that only half of the species alive today will survive to 2100. Others describe the pace of biodiversity loss as 100 times the rate of natural extinctions. Less-diverse ecosystems are less productive, less stable and less robust. So loss of biodiversity may weaken ecosystems and make them more fragile, especially in the face of climate change, with grave consequences for food security, among other things.
This year, therefore, has been designated the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) by the United Nations General Assembly. Throughout the year, evolutionary biologists, ecologists, conservationists, policy makers and communicators will be negotiating how best to reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity.
As a contribution to IYB, this collection of reported features, expert opinion pieces, News and Views articles and original research papers published recently in Nature provides a useful snapshot of the complexity of the biodiversity problem, and the solutions proposed and tried."