Kent's Biodiversity 2010 – and beyond
The Old Sessions Lecture Theatre,
Canterbury Christ Church University College,
10am - 4pm
Supported by Kent and Medway Biological Records Centre
The aim of this year's conference is to look at 'biodiversity in Kent' as our contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity. The IYB is meant to raise awareness of the importance of the world's biodiversity through activities and events with a view to influencing decision makers "to elevate biological diversity nearer to the top of the political agenda". Dick Vane-Wright, former Keeper of Entomology at the Natural History Museum, has studied numerous faunas around the world and will explain what he thinks biodiversity is, and how to measure it. The main focus will be on showing how organisations both inside and outside Kent are working with the Wildlife Trust to maintain the region's biodiversity, with speakers from Butterfly Conservation, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, the farmers' Wildlife Advisory Group and Kent County Council. Biodiversity 'hot spots' are not just confined to land and two talks, both by NHM specialists, will focus on the wildlife in the seas around our coast. New morphometric and molecular techniques have shown that there is a wealth of biological variation below the species level (subspecies, forms, ecotypes, haplotypes) that is equally 'diverse' and requires recognition and conservation support. Professor Richard Bateman from RBG Kew will present the results of recent studies on monkey, lady and late spider orchids and BSBI Recorder for Kent, Geoffrey Kitchener, will cover the wider aspects of our flora. The time is approaching when we might seriously be able to produce a comprehensive account of our county's biodiversity – atlases to several groups have recently been published, the new Plant Atlas has gone to press and more are planned. The conference concludes with a look at future studies: with the undertaking of a new Habitats Survey by Kent County Council.