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Preserve natural biological diversity. Secure the potential of the benefits contained in this vastly undervalued, imperiled resource. Aid stakeholders (planners, businesses, government agencies, minorities, organizations, environmental reviewers, researchers, and others) to pursue their activities with as little damage to biodiversity as feasible and to take positive steps towards conservation. Reach out especially to groups such as ethnic minorities effectively excluded from the decision-making, policy-setting process by lack of information. Increase accountability. Extend the existing network to new lands and build utilitarian bridges among network units. Prevent destruction, particularly destruction in ignorance, of the elements of biodiversity. Realize in Asia the network's potential to add new climate change data and perspectives on sustainable use.


Utilize concepts, methods, protocols, and systems from the existing network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centres, the network which the founders of BDC created.

Using these concepts, methods, etc., identify those elements of biodiversity -- among the tens of thousands -- which are most vulnerable to extinction and document that vulnerability. In addition, locate exactly where the remaining examples of these elements occur on the landscape at a scale of precision usable, for example, by a governmental agency planning a new road, a business planning a new shopping center or solar array, or an ethnic minority seeking to protect its community resources.

Focus initially on Asia, where the difficulty of language has in the past prevented expansion of the existing network.

Focus initially on China. Start by setting up a Natural Heritage Conservation Decision/Data Center in the country's most biologically diverse province, Yunnan province.

Yunnan is also China's most ethnically diverse province, so inform and involve these groups and enable them to participate in decisions affecting them.

Demonstrate the capacity of the system to generate a new source of climate change data and to inform decisions on sustainable use.

Once the system has been established -- in agencies, institutes, and elsewhere -- expand to other provinces, following the strategy used successfully in North America.

Create a version of the network system usable by Russian-speaking officials, conservationists, and other scientists in Central Asia.

Guiding principle

One of the key things BDC stands for, its guiding principle, is the absolute necessity of a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down approach to conservation. Local decision/data centers serving local interests bound together into a network by using a shared methodology is a more effective approach to conservation than efforts confined to a national or international capital. States and provinces are the main decision points for biodiversity within their jurisdiction.

Partnering with agencies, businesses, ethnic minorities, organizations and others at this level will have greatest effect. Bringing comprehensive, current, specific data to help inform decisions at this level is a way to enter into the decision-making process directly and to avoid the posture of always attempting to repeal or revise decisions already made.

See our FAQ for more.

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Carolina parakeet by Audubon (Conoropsis carolinensis carolinensis). Blue subspecies, C. c. ludovicianus also by Audubon.
Recent work has finally clarified and documented the very different ranges of these two. See this excellent article (with map). The nominative subspecies, the subject of the more famous painting, was coastal, from North Carolina to easternmost Louisiana, though it inhabited the whole of Florida and parts of far-south Georgia and Alabama. Its cousin was a midwesterner, centered on the Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio drainage, but extending also into Oklahoma and northern Texas.

The last confirmed sighting in the wild of the Carolina Parakeet was in 1910 (ludovicianus); the last , lonely individual of this species perished in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918.

A Bestiary of Loss

Although many species lost to extinction are obscure because they are so little known, or even entirely unknown, some are famous due to their extinction, starting perhaps with the Dodo. The Public Domain Review, a not-for-profit project with an online journal, has put together a web page picturing over twenty of these and giving an account of the life journey of each. The web page is here.

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