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Why diversity of species and people are important to our planet in equal measure.

by | Jun 14, 2024

Conserving Diversity

Why diversity of species and people are important to our planet in equal measure.

Diversity is a term used widely in the conservation sector; Species diversity, Biodiversity, ecosystem diversity. These terms reflect the range of biological components present in a particular area. Global biodiversity (the variety of life on Earth) has plummeted, with wildlife populations dropping by 69% between 1970 and 2018 [1] and this is credited as being one of the greatest threats to the future of the human race [2]. While many scientists and politicians fight it out over the causes of these declines and what to do about it, there’s one thing they can almost all agree on; greater diversity is good.

Biodiversity has wide ranging benefits for the planet and for people alike. Research has shown that greater species diversity increases the stability of an ecosystem, making it more resilient to changing land use and climatic conditions [3]. Stable ecosystems in turn provide clean air, fresh water, medicinal supplies, food security, disease reduction and climatic stability. Protecting the planet’s species is inarguably an essential focus of conservation today.

Perhaps less talked about is the importance of the diversity of people working in the conservation sector. Studies have shown that across the board, increased diversity can lead to improved output, creativity, imagination and enthusiasm, all of which are essential to the development of successful, sustainable and effective conservation practices [4 & 5]. Currently, the conservation sector is deemed the second least-diverse in the UK, which means it is missing out on vital knowledge, ideas and inspiration from underrepresented groups [6].

One such underrepresented group is the LGBTQ+ ((Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and other identities) community. Studies have demonstrated a lack of representation and additional barriers to members of the LGBTQ+ community in the conservation sector [7 & 8]. While not always visible or widely recognised, LGBTQ+ conservationists have greatly contributed to the scientific research, policy and advocacy that continue to help wildlife to thrive in our rapidly changing world.

This Pride month, we would like to take the opportunity to stand in support of diversity in a world that has for too long been intolerant and oppressive to anyone who doesn’t fit the ‘norm’. Pride is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate equality, challenge discrimination, and to acknowledge the undeniable positive impact that LGBTQ+ conservationists and other STEM professionals have had on the future of our planet.

Join us in celebrating Pride month by taking a look at our (nearly) interactive Pride flag. 

The Stanwick Lakes Ranger team, many of whom are part of the LGBTQ+ community, work hard to protect the species diversity of our 750 acre site.

Happy Pride Month!

By Michelle Branson, Ranger, Rockingham Forest Trust

(Michelle has used her PowerPoint wizardry to creative an interactive slideshow. If you can advise how we can share this online, keeping the interactive elements, please get in touch!)

[1] WWF, ZSL. The Living Planet Report, 2022.

[2] World Health Organisation. Connecting global priorities: biodiversity and human health: a state of knowledge review, 2023.

[3] Loreau, de Mazancourt. Biodiversity and ecosystem stability: a synthesis of underlying mechanisms. Ecology Letters, 2013.

[4] Moore. Parallels between Biodiversity and human diversity: A mandate to improve ecological and organisational health and vitality. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 2023.,of%20our%20professions%20and%20organizations.

[5] Sundari. Organisational Climate for Innovation and Creativity. Journal of Management Research, 2018.

[6] The Race Report

[7] Tulloch. Improving sex and gender identity equity and inclusion at conservation and ecology conferences. Nature, Ecology and Evolution, 2020.

[8] Whitworth. Ecology and Environmental Issues and Activism. St Mary’s College of Maryland, 2022.

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