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Serbia marking International Day for Biological Diversity

Tue, 05/22/2012 - 16:00 -- MRS

Human survival is directly conditioned by the preservation of our planet’s natural resources. Therefore modern development strategies have included a concept of the protection and preservation of biodiversity, it was emphasized at a gathering marking May 22 - International Day for Biological Diversity, which is also the day of the Futura Faculty for Applied Ecology, one of the organizers of the gathering. More from Aleksandra Novakovic.

The United Nations proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues and to point to the importance and necessity of stopping the decrease in the number of animal and plant species and various ecosystems on the Earth. At a summit on environment protection and sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the UN adopted a Convention on Biological Diversity, which confirms the general consensus that biodiversity is the foundation of the survival of humankind. In Belgrade, on 22 May 2012, the Futura Faculty for Applied Ecology and the Odgovornost (Responsibility) NGO observed this day by presenting a project entitled Patronatura - on the protection of the vanishing species, with a special focus on the miskant plant – a species essential for biomass production. Today, only 0.1% of the species that lived on the Earth at any time have remained, whereas 99% have become extinct at some time in the geological past, emphasized Aleksandra Drecun, the director of the Centre for the Promotion of Science of the Republic of Serbia. She stressed that some species had vanished almost soundlessly, due to environmental changes and the gradual destruction of their habitats, whereas other species disappeared due to mass catastrophes. The Centre aims to inform the public of the issues of life on this planet, in order that nature should not be taken for granted.

Prof. Jordan Aleksić, the director of the Research and Development Centre of the Futura Faculty for Applied Ecology, emphasized that the rate of extinction of plants, animals and their habitats in the world is 10,000 higher than it is natural. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) emphasizes that 21% of all the well-known mammals, 30% of amphibians, 12% of birds, 28% of reptiles, 37% of fish, 70% of plants and 35% of invertebrates have been endangered. Some 36,000 species vanish from the face of the Earth every year, experts warn. Should the same extinction rate continue, the forthcoming years could see the dying out of some species that are essential for human survival. This can be compared only to the catastrophe of more than 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the Earth, concludes Aleksić .

There are over 50% European vertebrates living in Serbia and 42 species, i.e. 23.6% of the 178 species on the European Red List. Between 98 and 110 fish and cyclostome species have been registered in the territory of Serbia so far. A total of 13 species have been proposed for the Red List of Vertebrates of Serbia and 19 taxons of international significance have been registered as well. The territory of Serbia is inhabited by 21 amphibian species and 25 reptile species, with some 20 subspecies. The number of bird species of all categories in Serbia (nesting birds, birds spending winter here, birds registered during migrations, potentially present birds) is around 360 and there are 343 internationally significant bird species. 94 mammal species, i.e. 50.51% of the total European fauna, have been registered in Serbia, 68 species of which are on the Preliminary Red List of Vertebrates of Serbia and 16 on the European Red List.