Biodiversity research trumps climate change science for global concerns in a new landmark project from the UN-IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). A media summary announcement (23 March 2018), claims its four regional assements forthcoming report to be the most comprehensive, detailed and forthright environmental survey since the Kofi Annan Millennium Assessment. The new report is projected to be a mixed bag of good science, dangers, risks and dire warnings; other press coverage adds calamity, despair and lamentations. All accounts are replete with snippets of all possible hope. Already, urgent follow-up studies are underway.

Hopefully, this new report will suggest how taxonomy and conservation, and especially ecology, can recover from the depredations inflicted in the name of the Convention on Biological Diversity (UN-CBD), [Note: the term 'ecology' is not used in these CBD-related criticisms.]

Referring to the new research, Sir Robert Watson (ex-chief scientist at The World Bank, long-serving ex-chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Climate Change (IPCC), and in recent years, chair of the environmental equivalent, the IPBES), has made clear the need for better understanding of global biodiversity and conservation. Referring to the new IBPES-coordinated research, Watson also clearly states:
"It is also clear that indigenous and local knowledge can be an invaluable asset, and biodiversity issues need to receive much higher priority in policy making and development planning at every level. Cross-border collaboration is also essential, given that biodiversity challenges recognize no national boundaries."

Watson deplores the lack of progress to date, saying: "The time for action was yesterday or the day before. Now we need action, but unfortunately the action we have now is not at the level we need." and, "[with] the rapid and accelerating global decline in biodiversity, it presents only general notions as to what might be done to halt the process [of biodiversity loss] and avert catastrophe, without any mechanisms for implementation aside from the goodwill of business and political leaders." But, where is the science?

With expected confirmation of the growing impact of the Sixth Mass Extinction Event, especially at local population levels, diverse actions, already urgently needed, will be seen to be crucial once details of the IPBES research become available.

For a purpose-designed tool aimed at this area, find my taxonomy based BioLists System at Although unpromoted until now (for possible strategic reasons), it is effectively fully functional, globally applicable, and free.

BioLists is a taxonomy-based system designed to serve environmental data capture, management and analysis, and thus ecology and conservation. At suitable time intervals as taxonomy evolves (eg before and after the first flush of DNA results were applied to biodiversity classification), BioLists captures scientific species names against a single comprehensive [database] index conforming to the accepted overall, current (in use) biodiversity classification. In this way, all biolists (checklists) derived from any and every selection of species names will be sequenced compatibly, making for easy information management and analysis. This applies whether genus or species (scientific) names are used to retrieve records from a database file, or whether they are selected using linked common [vernacular] names from the wide range of languages on offer. Using common names, where available, will usually be preferred.

For many purposes, each biolist can be seen as a basic unit of ecological information. Being time dependent, they can be worthy of being archived. Field-sourced biolists are unique (unrepeatable) records of species found living in close proximity at one time. Such records will be of unknowable value for ecology, except that their research value will keep increasing with time.

By virtue of overall taxonomic standardisation, BioLists will serve school and local natural history projects of all sizes, as well as prepping species-level ecological analyses of all sizes, and will enable follow-up grass-roots conservation actions without delays due to taxonomic complications.