[Taxacom] Replies Re: Economist leader addressed to taxonomists

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Thu May 24 03:55:45 CDT 2007

This article in today's New York Time might be far off and not related to
the discussion spurred by the Linnaeus article, but I bet it is, and if we
do not comprehend it well, we might not be able to voice our concerns
regarding the future of biodiversity as we ought to as one of the few with a
real insight what's out there-

The announcement (see
slogin&pagewanted=all) of last week's launch of a Nigerian telecom satellite
by China is not only China's first successful launch of a home built
satellite, but it well certainly a big step in a much more efficient
extraction of natural resources in the developed world by China whose
foreign policy is largely driven to secure the supply of its huge need of
natural resources. That means, that the exploitation of tropical resources
will continue, most likely at an increased rate.

This happens at a time, where the US government creates many enemies abroad
(and thus looses influence) and, for conservation taxonomy more importantly,
closed down NASA's Earth Sciences program and siphons a lot of funding into
a Mars program which could not be launched at a worth time. Hopefully, the
Europeans can fill in some of this gap with their ENVISAT and a series of
new smaller satellites, and hopefully make at least some core data
accessible for scientists and conservationists at large, similar to the
current NASA policy (see eg GLCF http://glcf.umiacs.umd.edu/index.shtml) as
partner of the Conservation Commons (A nice contradiction between White
House policy and scientists concerned about conservation within NASA!).

Taxonomists better assure that their data is quickly processed and made
accessible so conservationists in the field can use it to have an impact on
the increased extraction of natural resources as well as the monitoring of
it. The combination of specimen data in the field, near real time remote
sensing data and predictive modeling offers now a much advanced tool to
support action on the place where it is most efficient. Never before was the
chance to have close up images of even the remotest corner of the world (eg
Google Earth, or GLCF http://glcf.umiacs.umd.edu/index.shtml), and
increasingly, the Internet allows to supply colleagues in such places with
data, and on the other hand we can get more information to do a much better
job from within our own institutions.


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Fabian Haas
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2007 9:16 AM
To: Paul van Rijckevorsel
Cc: taxacom
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Replies Re: Economist leader addressed to taxonomists

well, thats the best we can do! Hope something will be printed either in 
the Economist or elsewhere. Maybe the strategy is to have a letter on 
the Economist refering to a printed version.


Paul van Rijckevorsel wrote:
> From: "Geoff Read" <g.read at niwa.co.nz>
>> FYI. Economist have put two letters up on the website last night. 
> Ruedas & Brown, and Yanega.
>> http://www.economist.com/debate/theinbox/
> ***
> With all due respect, Letters-to-the-editor posted on a website will
> have the same impact on the readers of the Economist as a Leader piece in
> the print edition.
> Paul
> _______________________________________________
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> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
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