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International Day for Biological Diversity: EU Research

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

Biodiversity is the complex web of life on Earth, incorporating humans and our social and economic systems. The number of life-forms on Earth is unknown, but it may be some 20–30 million species, of which only about 1.8 million are known to science. Biodiversity can be studied at the level of the whole planet or confined to a mountain lake. However, whatever the level, the organisms interact in a complex, dynamic manner – both among themselves and with the non-living environment they share. Animals, plants and micro-organisms are a vital resource for humans, forming important elements in many processes on which we depend. .

European research is directed towards assessing and forecasting changes in biodiversity and understanding the dynamics of ecosystems, particularly marine ecosystems. The relationships between the environment, the society and the economy are analysed in order to identify – and mitigate – potentially harmful effects on the environment and on human health and society. Risk assessments based on European research allow us to better manage, conserve and rehabilitate our ecosystems in a sustainable manner for future generations.

Here are two examples of successful, EU-funded biodiversity-related research projects:

Picture of houses at San Pedro de Atacama

Recycled water makes a splash

Where water is scarce, it is particularly important to ensure that the precious drops aren't wasted. Recycling and reuse technologies can help to preserve this precious resource even in very arid regions. An EU-funded project has developed a decision support tool to help communities select the solutions that offer the best fit for their needs.

Photo of a child looking at bees

The Plight of the Pollinators

Pollinators like bumblebees are declining in Europe. What are the causes, the consequences and the possible solutions? Researchers know that the causes are multiple: a combination of habitat loss, pathogens, alien species, agrichemical pollution and even climate change.


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