Non-English language science may hold key information for conservation

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Non-English language science may hold key information for conservation

Washington U.S. January 15 ANI According to recent research, non-English language science may hold untapped information that could be crucial for the conservation of global biodiversity.

Few studies to date have quantified the contribution of science written in non-English languages to scientific communities and application of science. These researchers examined over 400,000 peer-reviewed papers in 326 journals published in 16 languages, identifying 1,234 studies that provided scientific knowledge on saving species and ecosystems.

The number of such non-English language studies being published is increasing, particularly in geographic areas and for species where English-language knowledge is scarce, including Latin America and other regions where conservation is needed the most.

These findings have important implications for the global effort to tackle the biodiversity crisis, where lack of evidence is an issue that is often faced when trying to implement evidence-based conservation. The authors found that incorporating non-English language studies can expand the availability of scientific evidence on species and ecosystems into 12 -- 25 per cent more areas and 5 -- 32 per cent more species.

This can be a game-changer, said Dr Tatsuya Amano at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Most global studies and assessments on biodiversity reported gaps in the availability of scientific knowledge, despite not having explored science written in non-English languages.

Findings from this research indicate that making the best use of non-English language science can be a quick, cost-effective approach to filling gaps, facilitating a wider application of evidence-based conservation globally.

When English alone isn't providing us with enough scientific evidence to make effective conservation decisions, we cannot afford to overlook any evidence as we try to tackle this urgent issue, Dr Amano said.

This research shows how linguistically and culturally diverse scientific communities can maximize the contribution of science to addressing urgent global challenges.

Amano, who is a native Japanese speaker, stressed that this research would not have been possible without the tremendous contribution of our 62 collaborators, who are collectively native speakers of 17 languages.