When a virus is not a problem, ‘environmental protection’ isn’t a solution
A few months ago, a scientist from the University of Manchester published a paper claiming to show that “environmental and biological protection” in the UK is insufficient.
The article was published in the peer-reviewed journal Biological Conservation.
The title was “Ecosystem protection in the absence of biological threat” and it claimed that the absence “of biological threat from non-human species, or non-natural factors such as pollution, is not an adequate measure of environmental protection”.
“Biological threat” is defined as “an organism that threatens the life of another organism and which threatens the existence of the organism.”
As I pointed out in a recent post, there’s no such thing as a non-biological threat.
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little suspicious of this paper, but as I said above, this article wasn’t entirely without merit.
It was actually a substantial improvement over the first paper in this vein, published in 2016.
That’s because in the first, the scientists used an approach that would likely not be considered acceptable today: a study of “biological threats” to the UK’s wildlife and plants.
This study used a similar methodology to that of the 2016 study and it concluded that the UK could be protected against “biologically threatened” threats to “non-human wildlife and plant species”.
That doesn’t mean that “biologists” and “nonhumans” aren’t a threat, of course.
In a statement, the Natural Environment Research Council said it was concerned by the results of the study and urged the UK government to “consider all options to mitigate non-living threats to wildlife”.
The same statement added that the “results of the current study do not imply that biological threats have been reduced to zero”.
But in a separate statement, the Natural Environment Research Council said that “it is clear that our study is not without limitations”.
In other words, the authors didn’t consider the possibility that the UK could be protected from nonliving threats, but instead relied on the idea that “natural threats” were the main “threat”.
The Natural Environment Council says that it will review the paper and that it will look into the “scientific validity” of the paper.
That could mean a full re-evaluation of the research, but the Natural Environment research council says it has “not yet” investigated the results published by the scientists in 2016.
In any case, the 2017 study found that “all non-Living Threatened Threatened Species” in England and Wales are at “high risk of extinction” and they refer to the “Living Threat” in the UK as the “threat from non human animals”.
And it found that these “living threats” “threaten biodiversity, ecosystem function and the ability of ecosystems to recover from disturbances and threats, as well as impacts on biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems.”
As it happens, the BBC’s environmental health focused series revealed that the authors of the 2017 study had a vested interest in the conclusion that “biodiversity” was a threat to wildlife.
The authors of that study were funded by the National Trust.
If you want to know how “bio-threatened species” are listed as “living threats”, here are a couple of examples:The BBC’s Sustainable Food Trust has found that the most recent biodisclosure of biotas in the UK is based on a study of non-living threats to the food chain.
Biodiversity is listed in the list as a threat to a food chain in this case: The National Trust is the funding body for the study.
As you can see, the study’s authors are not scientists.
And, as you can also see, there is no mention of Biodiscare on the website of the Natural Resources Conservation Society, the UK branch of the National Trust.
This article was originally published by TechCrunch and is republished here with permission.