Technical note Open Access
Biodiversity - the genetic, species, community and ecosystem variety of life on Earth - is the living fabric of our planet. As the products of millions of years of evolution, biological species form a global ecological system that encompasses all living beings and their interactions with each other as well as the elements of the atmosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere, collectively known as the biosphere. Human impacts on the biosphere, either direct or indirect, can destabilize or even destroy habitats or ecosystems and their inherent biodiversity components, something that may also lead to species extinctions. The equitable and responsible use of the world’s biological resources is essential for the well-being of the planet. This can only be achieved in a sustainable manner when it is based on a solid and comprehensive understanding of biodiversity: on how to protect it, how to manage it, how to nurture it, and how to respect it.
The 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, focused on the theme Living in harmony with nature, seeks to ensure that, by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used with the aim of maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people. In the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011- 2020, the role of knowledge in supporting the 2050 Vision is recognized in Aichi Biodiversity Target 19: By 2020, knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity, its values, functioning, status and trends, and the consequences of its loss, are improved, widely shared and transferred, and applied. As the global community considers the framework that will succeed the Strategic Plan beyond 2020, the fundamental importance of taxonomy in framing the transformational change needed to bring the 2050 Vision within reach must be explicitly acknowledged and incorporated within this framework of targets and actions in the years ahead.