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New booklet - Biodiversity early warning systems.

The new booklet - Biodiversity early warning systems - South African citizen scientists monitoring change. Edited by Phoebe Barnard & Marienne de Villiers.

This booklet is the result of a collaboration between the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the Animal Demography Unit (ADU) of the University of Cape Town and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs.

The Foreward, written by Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, Director-General of DEA, and Dr Tanya Abrahamse, CEO of SANBI, says: "Climate change presents the global community with one of the biggest challenges of human history. If we cannot rise to this challenge, and use our skills to our advantage, our future could admittedly be bleak. Yet it does not have to be that way. Human foresight, human ingenuity, and clear-sighted leadership are all qualities which tend to appear in times of need. South Africa has shown the world that it is capable of all these things, from the peaceful transition to democracy in 1994, to our emergence as a world talent in science and social development, to the quality of our leadership and our vibrant democracy."

... and goes on to say: "We are delighted to say that South Africa has a wealth of talent in its civil society for identifying, monitoring and conserving our biodiversity. Our 'citizen scientists' are justly becoming famous on the world stage for their participation in excellent species atlases, wildflower conservation schemes, and projects on Red Data species population trends. These species are our 'canaries in the coal mine.' You can read about some of these wonderful initiatives, part of our emerging early warning system for biodiversity, in this booklet.

"We believe strongly that it is the active participation of the broad citizenry in engaging with biodiversity and the environment that will be the saviour of our natural assets. This booklet gives us a glimpse of this possibility. We hope that our experiences so far on this journey will inspire and encourage you."

You can download this 16-page booklet as a pdf from the ADU website [4.2MB] ( It is a celebration of the achievements of our citizen scientists.

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