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Welcome to Biodiversity-Speak

Scientists, like everyone else in the world, live in a bubble. They talk a language that can be incomprehensible to outsiders. This is no different, of course, than a sailor saying “cleat the genny sheet”, or a doctor instructing the nurse “NPO”, meaning nil per os, or nothing by mouth.

But as the protection of the Earth’s biodiversity affects us all, some of the ideas could use a bit of translation. Here , then, is a completely uncomprehensive and totally subjective definition of some of the concepts and terms being tossed around at this week’s World Biodiversity Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

  • Defaunation – The counterpart of deforestation, but animals not trees.
  • Geodiversity – The same as biodiversity, only rocks and minerals
  • Biomimicry – Copying what nature does to solve a problem.
  • Anthropocene – The era in which we live, where humans run (and ruin) everything.
  • Bending the Curve – Reversing or slowing the decline in biodiversity, as seen on a graph.
  • Spatial and Temporal Variation – Things change depending on where and when you look at them.
  • Knowledge Gap – What scientists don’t know because there has not been enough research.