EMBL Courses and Conferences during the Coronavirus pandemic
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Sciences Po, France
From local to global, stakes and policy on biodiversity conservation
Metropolitan France is home to a rich diversity of natural habitats and species. The plurality of its biogeographical regions allows this diversity since it is at the crossroads between mountainous, continental, oceanic, and mediterranean climates. In the center of this country, there is a region which illustrates well french biodiversity: Auvergne. Its volcanic massifs, plains, forests, and its wild hydrographic network dotted with many wetlands, explain the rich diversity of natural habitats and the species it harbors. Several rare species have found refuge in this region such as the red kite or the water vole.
However, even this rural territory is affected by the massive loss of biodiversity that we are seeing all over the world. Recently, the United States released the 5th Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-5) report. This report takes stock of the “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020”, adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and reviews the 20 Aichi Targets which compose it. The report's findings show that there has not been much improvement since most of the objectives have absolutely not been attained. The decline in the bird population in Auvergne reflects this trend: a 2015 study by the Bird Protection League reveals that 49,1% of nesting bird species are threatened in Auvergne. For example, the ortolan (Emberiza hortulana) has experienced an 80% decrease in its population in this territory since the 2000s. Urbanization, intensification of wheat crops and pastures, logging, destruction of wetlands, and climate change can be cited as the main factors of this decline. All areas in the world are suffering from decline in biodiversity. One solution which may be explored is the payment for environmental services, which the water agency of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes has decided to support. This new project aims to promote water quality and biodiversity conservation through the dissemination of agro-ecological practices such as reintegrating hedges, protecting wetlands, all in collaboration with farmers and local stakeholders.
Henri Landes is the Copresident and Director of LanDestini, a French based NGO dedicated to biodiversity conservation and education, and a lecturer on environmental policy at the Institute of Political Sciences (SciencesPo) in Paris. French-American, he did his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis, and his master’s at Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs in Sustainable Development. He cofounded the non profit organization CliMates, which raises awareness and trains youth on climate change issues. From 2014 to 2016, he worked as advisor to the President of the French National Assembly on energy, climate and agriculture. From 2017 to 2018, Henri Landes Directed the GoodPlanet Foundation, presided by filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand, before launching his own organization LanDestini in 2019. In 2019, with his wife, TV journalist on environment, Fanny Agostini, Henri Landes moved onto a farm in the Auvergne region of France in order to create a pedagogical farm, live a more sustainable lifestyle close to nature, and lead projects on biodiversity education, awareness raising and entrepreneurship. He has written and co-written three books on environmental policy and politics, and is most interested in the interface between science and policy, as well as projects which help to relocalize the economy In order to preserve local natural resources and foster resiliency. Former professional tennis player, Henri also enjoys raising awareness on the linkage between sports, public health, and biodiversity conservation.