Image caption: CEED has developed a cost-effective way to save a wide range of threatened species, including rare old ones that may be costly to protect.
Original Published Date: 
Monday, January 5, 2015

As species blink into extinction all around the world, environmental scientists in Australia have come up with a way to decide ‘which of the books we rescue from the blazing library of life’. Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) have developed a cost-effective way to save a wide range of threatened species, including rare old ones that may be costly to protect. The technology created by CEED is a computer programme that predicts how many species and how much genetic diversity can be saved with a given amount of money. Lead researcher Dr Joseph Bennett says “the global extinction crisis is getting worse, and conservation funds are seldom enough to stop biodiversity from declining, it’s like a library on fire and we have to save as much precious information as we can. Using this programme, we found a balance that would save the greatest number of different species while conserving the maximum genetic diversity within a given budget.” CEED Director Professor Hugh Possingham says “research on species prioritisation enables governments, environmental organisations and conservation communities to devise strategies that will eventually raise enough funds to secure all of Australia’s species.”

Media issued by ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions