Georgina Mace, architect of the “red list” of threatened species, dies

Georgina Mace, architect of the “red list” of threatened species, dies

“We are part of nature and our well-being depends on a healthy relationship with it”, argued this infectious disease expert, awarded the FBBVA Frontiers Award

Georgina Mace, architect of the

Georgina Mace, creator of the “red list” of threatened species that served to shape conservation policies for the last 15 years around the world, has died at the age of 67. The British zoologist was awarded the 2018 Frontiers of Knowledge Award from the BBVA Foundation in the category of Conservation Ecology and Biology, for ” her contribution to documenting the loss of biodiversity “.

Mace gave one of his last interviews with El Mundo, last June, during confinement for the coronavirus. “We are part of nature and our well-being depends on a healthy relationship with it,” said the scientist, who warned that the pandemic will force “resetting our relationship with the natural world.”

Born in London in 1953, Georgina Mace received her BA in Zoology from the University of Liverpool and her PhD in Evolutionary Ecology from the University of Sussex. She started as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institute in the United States and returned to the British capital to direct the Department of Science of the Zoological Society.

She was also director of the Center for Population Biology at Imperial College and in 2012 she joined University College London (UCL), where she served until her last days as Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystem. Throughout his life he alternated teaching with research. She herself considered as her greatest contribution the definition of the scientific criteria for the inclusion of a species (90,000 to date) in the Red List of the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN).

“The variety of life on Earth is crucial for our physical and mental health, ” he stressed in his recent interview with El Mundo. “Biodiversity gives us a lot directly and indirectly. We depend on it for the food and water that nourishes us, to regulate the climate and protect us from all kinds of risks.”

Infectious disease boom

“Infectious diseases are emerging at an ever-increasing speed, and most are caused by pathogens that jump from animals,” added the zoologist, who highlighted deforestation, intensive agriculture and livestock and factors such as population growth. , the “urbanized world” and “global trade” as links in a chain that make us more vulnerable to pandemics.

Mace also spoke of the need to establish links between biodiversity and climate change and broke a spear for the concept of “ecosystem services”, one of his latest fields of research. “Showing the economic value of nature is a great idea to validate conservation efforts,” he warned.

Mace spoke of pollination or natural pest control as two of the most obvious “services”, although he also claimed “the value of nature in a broad sense, for its fundamental contributions to human well-being: of physical and mental health, to aesthetic and cultural value “.

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