The Antonelli Foundations for Biodiversity Research and Conservation work with and support targeted projects in research, conservation, restoration, education and knowledge dissemination.
Why focus on biodiversity conservation?
Biodiversity – the variety of all life on Earth – is the foundation of all ecosystems, and it is what makes our own lives possible. We depend on biodiversity as our sources of food, medicine, fibre, building material, well-being, pollination, recreation, and much more. And biodiversity has a value on its own to exist and thrive.
However, never before in human history have so many species been at risk of going extinct: two in five plants are likely to be threatened, and as many as one million species risk disappearing in the next decades unless we drastically change the way we interact with the rest of nature. Conserving biodiversity, through inclusive and effective approaches, is therefore one of the biggest challenges humanity faces.
Why also focus on research?
Although scientists have made considerable progress over the last centuries, we know more about the surface of Mars than we know about Life on Earth. About 90 per cent of all species have not yet been documented scientifically, and for some groups – such as fungi and insects – estimates of the total number of species vary by the millions. Without basic knowledge about the identity, distribution, and ecology of organisms, we simply cannot protect what we don’t understand.
Scientific research is therefore urgently needed, particularly in tropical regions where diversity is highest but scientific knowledge is lowest. The combination of fieldwork, new technologies and citizen science can produce invaluable information about which species and regions are most at risk from human threats and climate change, so they can be prioritised for conservation actions.