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Ladder Award: Steve Wratten for noting presence of many unnoticed local inhabitants

Steve Wratten, Professor of Ecology at Lincoln University in New Zealand, wrote an article in The Christchurch Press (28 March, 2009) In praise of our rich diversity (PDF 12KB) about the need for bio-diversity to keep us all alive. He points out that human activities are destroying this diversity at an alarming rate. He is awarded this weeks Ladder for the following reasons:

1. His explanation of the need for biodiversity is interesting and easy to understand. It is based on a simple description and analysis of an ordinary garden and the contributions of its many inhabitants; for instance, he points out that without them, garden soil would still be pure clay, chalk or sand.

2. He highlights the danger of not noticing the loss of such biodiversity until it is too late, pointing out for instance that while we can grow things hydroponically with oil-based fertilisers, it would not be the “brave new world” he would want to live in.

3. He points to a practical can-do project on understanding biodiversity called BioBlitz. The aim of this project is to map biodiversity and to make people conscious of it and the impacts of their activities on it. There is to be a project in a domain in Lincoln (in Christchurch, New Zealand)

4. In the vein of the Bioblitz project, and importantly for village development, Wratten usefully illustrates how, for development to be effective, it has to recognise and support, rather than undermine, the contributions and balances of its many, diverse inhabitants.

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