Biodiversity is the engine of life. We rely heavily on plant and animal species to play specific roles within an ecosystem, which provides valuable services for all wildlife and people. The global value of these ecological services has been estimated at $33-54 trillion/year. But it is also estimated that we lose $2-5 trillion each year in ecological services due to environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.
The five primary threatening processes are:
- Habitat loss and degradation (pollution, unsustainable human activities)
- Invasive species (feral animals and weeds)
- Human-wildlife conflict (revenge-killing, poaching, overharvesting)
- Climate change (acidification of oceans, changing climate bands)
- Disease. The role of disease is increasingly recognised as key impact on wildlife populations and human populations (e.g., avian influenza)
Taronga’s terrestrial ecology projects aim to identify the specific threats to wildlife and habitats, and to test the best methods to lessen these threats, protect wildlife populations and maintain the essential services these species provide. Taronga has no dedicated terrestrial ecology staff but actively engages in collaborative projects with academic and government partners.