International Year of Biodiversity Reading Challenge

International Year of Biodiversity 2010

Welcome to the International Year of Biodiversity! This year is dedicated to celebrating the world’s biodiversity and making progress on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which was established at the 1992 Rio “Earth Summit.” The Convention on Biological Diversity, which has been signed by almost every country in the world (*cough* USA *cough*), has three main goals:

  1. To conserve biological diversity
  2. The use biological diversity in a sustainable fashion
  3. To share the benefits of biological diversity fairly and equitably

The parties to the Convention decided to make 2010 their deadline for achieving a “significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss,” and so this year was declared the International Year of Biodiversity.

As a biologist, I naturally couldn’t let this international year go by without putting together a reading challenge for it! By learning more about biodiversity we can better appreciate its value and do more to ensure its protection at home and around the world. To that end I’ve put together a selection of reading challenges for this year:

Basic: 3 books on any biodiversity topic.

Biomes: 3 books about major world ecosystems: open ocean; coral reefs; lakes and rivers; arctic tundra; boreal forests; temperate forests; tropical forests; savannah; grassland/steppe/ deserts.

Branches: 3 books on different life forms: plants; fungi; invertebrates (including insects); reptiles and amphibians; birds; mammals.

Bye-bye: 2 books about endangered or extinct species or about extinction or conservation.

Back yard: Buy 2 or more field guides to your local flora & fauna and get to know your neighbours.

Biodiversity Bonanza: One of each of the above!

I’ve also devised some “field trips” to get you closer to your subject:

Level 1—Indoorsy: Visit a natural history museum or watch a documentary series on biodiversity (e.g. Planet Earth)

Level 2—Outdoorsy: Take a guided walk or hike in a local park. Check park system websites for schedules.

Level 3—Full Granola: Design your own field trip to go birding, botanizing, field-journaling, or whatever you like. Alternatively, join a local natural history club, or take a course in natural history online or at a college or community centre.

To make all this easier I’ve gathered together some helpful resources here, and will be adding to them throughout the year as I make more discoveries. Just below are a number of web resources on the International Year of Biodiversity and biodiversity in general. Further down I’ve posted a collection of suggested books for the reading challenges. I haven’t read them all myself but I tried to pick out titles that come highly recommended. Suggestions are welcome!

If you’d like to participate in this challenge, I have created a badge for your blog, available in various sizes at the bottom of this post. Leave a comment if you intend to participate so I can follow your bio-adventures. I do hope you’ll join me on this very special and important challenge!


Global Initiatives:

International Year of Biodiversity

Convention on Biological Diversity

Countdown 2010

International Day for Biological Diversity —May 22

Biodiversity Indicators Partnership

International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

United Nations Environment Program: Biodiversity

Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

Biodiversity Information:

Tree of Life web project

NatureServe (US & Canada)

Canadian Biodiversity Information Network

Viva Natura (Mexico)

InfoNatura (Latin America & Caribbean)

European Nature Information System

European Centre for Nature Conservation

ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

African Biodiversity Network

For Young People:

Biodiversity 911

Natural History

Kamana Naturalist Training Program

Biodiversity Reading Challenge 2010 Biodiversity Reading Challenge 2010

Biodiversity Reading Challenge 2010 Biodiversity Reading Challenge 2010


Stefanie at So Many Books


Kristen at BookNAround

Eva at A Striped Armchair

Lynda at Lynda’s Book Blog

Heather at The Library Ladder


Christy at A Good Stopping Point

Gavin at Page247

Andi at Andi lit

Kristine at Wild Oak Academy

chicory cottage

Caroline at Uh, Yeah, I Have A Blog (love that blog title!)

Jenn at Once Upon A Time…



38 comments on “International Year of Biodiversity Reading Challenge

  1. Stefanie says:

    I love how you include field trips with your challenges! I'll be joining up for sure. I have to look amongst my book piles. I have a couple of books about tortoises and sea turtles, I think I have a Rachel Carson book on the ocean around here somewhere, and I've been wanting to read EO Wilson. And you will give me a good reason to go to the bird sanctuary at Lake Harriet not far from my house. I haven't been in ages and when I'm in the middle of it I'd never know I was in downtown Minneapolis!

  2. Sylvia says:

    That's great, Stefanie! I'm glad you like the field trips, it's fun to devise them. It sounds like you have everything you need for the challenge close at hand. Happy 2010!

  3. Grilsgood says:

    I am ready for a field trip!!!!! I likethis kind of stuff. Guess this is the Mr. Linky since I didn't see him

  4. Kristen says:

    Not sure if I have enough books sitting around here to qualify but I'll sure look since I know I have at least one, maybe two on the Great Lakes that I'd love to get to soon. One to add to your list of possibles that was a really good read is Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine.

  5. Sylvia says:

    Yes, Grilsgood, this is my low-tech Mr. Linky. 😉 Hope you enjoy the reading!

    Thanks for the suggestion, Kristen. And the Great Lakes are a great subject—20% of the whole world's surface fresh water! I recently saw a documentary on them. They've taken a lot of abuse but are still surviving thanks to the efforts of many.

  6. Heather says:

    I'll join! I called our local library system and asked if they had and programs going on throughout the year or would there be specific speakers or book displays. Pathetically, they had no idea what I was talking about. I'm going to choose the Basic level for now (that may expand) and I'm going to try and get my hands on one of the books Stefanie listed (Lonesome George) because it sounds really good. I'm going to try and add in a short essay from a friend who recently visited The Galapagos Islands (works on convincing friend). Any other books I read will focus on Canada and likely the Arctic.

    Thanks for running this challenge!

  7. Ceebie says:

    Hi there,

    Great challenge! Wondering if you'd consider adding the Nature Conservancy of Canada to your list of resources ( They're the only national conservation organization with detailed information about the species and biodiversity of Canada's southern ecoregions.

    Thanks for thinking of this challenge!


  8. Sylvia says:

    Welcome Eva, Lynda, Heather, and Ceebie! I'm glad to see so much interest in this. I thought I would be hearing crickets (of which there are 900 species!).

    Ceebie, I think NatureServe pretty well covers biodiversity information for Canada, in addition to the CBIN. I wanted to keep this simple so I have left out conservation organizations, which are too many to list here. I might have to revisit that later on, though. Thanks for the plug, NCC is a great organization!

  9. Sylvia says:

    Yay, the first Bonanza! Thanks for participating, Christy!

  10. Gavin says:

    Sylvia – Found you through Eva's post just as I was finishing a post on IYOB. I'm joining in at the Bonanza level. Her is my post. Thanks for organizing this challenge!

  11. Sylvia says:

    That's great, Gavin! Another Bio-Bonanza!

  12. Jodie says:

    I am not allowed to join any more challenges, it is a challenge requirement of a challenge I joined to stop me from joining countless challenges *does shifty eyes* but I would like to join this one. I looked into distance learning for a course in natural history but I'm not totally certain how much of a background in science I would need to begin with (I have none) so I think I'll take the Intrepid activity level (London Natural History museum road trip possibly? or David Attenborough fest?) and the Branches reading level. I am absolutely going to manage this one, it's just three books…

  13. scoffeepie says:

    I'm definately interested, but I'm not sure what I'm going to read yet.

  14. Sylvia says:

    Jodie, does it help if the challenge is for a good cause? 😉

    Welcome, scoffeepie! Do keep me posted on your choices.

  15. Jodie says:

    Way to give me a get out clause!

  16. bgdurau says:

    I am looking forward to joining the challenge! My participation will be delayed until I finish my last semester of university – BSc Wildlife & Fisheries Mgmt. Conservation Biologist is my goal. I will add this challenge to my moleskine to keep me on track. Thanks for posting!

  17. Laura says:

    I've decided to sign myself up! Haven't chosen all my books yet but count me in for a “Full Granola” field trip! Laura Mousseau.

  18. Sylvia says:

    Hi Barbara! Nice to have another biologist around. I hope you'll be able to join in later. Happy studying!

    That's great, Laura! I look forward to reading about your field trip.

  19. Andi says:

    I'm in. Thanks for hosting.
    Here's my post about the challenge –

    Thanks again.

  20. Sylvia says:

    My pleasure, Andi, hope you enjoy the challenge!

  21. Kristine says:

    I don't typically do a lot of biology-related reading, so this will be a interesting. Thank you for hosting this!

  22. Sylvia says:

    Hi Kristine! Welcome aboard the biodiversity train!

  23. count me in too, please!

  24. Sylvia says:

    Welcome, chicory cottage! I'll add you to the list. 🙂

  25. Caroline says:

    I'm in. I'm a bit weak on Biology – I went for the Science classes that didn't have dissections.

  26. Sylvia says:

    Heh. Don't worry, Caroline, no dissections are required for this challenge! 😉

  27. Bibliobabe says:

    I posted a page with ALL current reading challenges. Let me know if you want me to add any other information about yours. I hope it brings even more readers to your challenge!

    Reading Challenges.

    Rachelle (Bibliobabe)

  28. Sylvia says:

    Thank you (belatedly!), Rachelle!

  29. Jenn says:

    What a great idea! I'm a little late (I've only just started blogging), but I would love to join. I'm planning to aim for “Biodiversity Bonanza” and the “Indoorsy” field trip.

    Jenn at Once Upon a Time…

  30. Sylvia says:

    That's great, Jenn! Welcome to the blogosphere and welcome to the challenge!

  31. Grilsgood says:

    1. Savage, Stephen Animals of the Oceans
    2. Hopkins, Ellen Orca's
    3. Parker, Steve Pond and River
    4. Sayre, April Pulley Tropical Rain Forest
    5. Rockwell, Anne Why Are the Ice Caps Melting
    6. Levinson, Nancy Smiler North Pole, South Pole

  32. Sylvia says:

    Nicely done, Grilsgood!

  33. Any step towards more responsible attitude towards nature and its diversity is a good one, be it reading books, bigger conscience or practical contributions.

  34. Sylvia says:

    I couldn't agree more, Ondrej!

Comments are closed.