Horizon scanning identifies emerging issues in a given field sufficiently early to conduct research to inform policy and practice. Our group of horizon scanners, including academics and researchers, convened to identify fifteen nascent issues that could affect the conservation of biological diversity. These include the impacts of and potential human responses to climate change, novel biological and digital technologies, novel pollutants and invasive species. We expect to repeat this process and collation annually.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The countries affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami contain the most diverse and extensive coral reefs and mangroves of the Indian Ocean, and some of the richest in the world. Not only are these ecosystems among the most threatened in the world, they also provide numerous essential ecosystem services.
It is thus not surprising that reefs and mangroves received widespread attention after the tsunami, with three principal questions posed: Are the tsunami's impacts on reefs and mangroves a further threat to their future survival? Did reefs and mangroves play a role in shoreline protection and reduce structural damage and human mortality? How could reconstruction efforts include actions to maintain these ecosystems and reduce further threats to them?Resource Type: Journal Papers
Assuming no radical transformation in human behavior, we can expect important changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2050. A considerable number of species extinctions will have taken place. Existing large blocks of tropical forest will be much reduced and fragmented, but temperate forests and some tropical forests will be stable or increasing in area, although the latter will be biotically impoverished. Marine ecosystems will be very different from today's, with few large marine predators, and freshwater biodiversity will be severely reduced almost everywhere. These changes will not, in themselves, threaten the survival of humans as a species.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Small local hunting communities in Siberia are very distant from any governmental control. Hunted waterbird species, including globally and regionally threatened species, rely for their well-being on the self regulation of remote hunting communities. Interviewed hunters showed a profound knowledge of Baikal Teal, its population status, and the causes of their past decline. Whether the knowledge is shared by other communities in the region and beyond in Northern Siberia needs verification.
Sustainability requires living within the regenerative capacity of the biosphere. In an attempt to measure the extent to which humanity satisfies this requirement, we use existing data to translate human demand on the environment into the area required for the production of food and other goods, together with the absorption of wastes. Our accounts indicate that human demand may well have exceeded the biosphere's regenerative capacity since the 1980s. According to this preliminary and exploratory assessment, humanity's load corresponded to 70% of the capacity of the global biosphere in 1961, and grew to 120% in 1999.Resource Type: Journal Papers
We applied a conceptual framework and score-card developed by the Cambridge Conservation Forum (CCF) to a sample of 60 conservation activities to determine the predictive power of implementation measures versus measures of key outcomes (later steps in the models defined in the CCF tools). We show that assessing key outcomes is often more difficult than quantifying the degree of implementation of a project but that, while implementation is a poor predictor of success, key outcomes provide a feasible and much more reliable proxy for whether a project will deliver real conservation benefits. The CCF framework and evaluation tool provide a powerful basis for synthesizing past experience and, with wider application, will help to identify factors that affect the success of conservation activities.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Our analyses show significant differences between predictions from different models, with predicted changes in range size by 2030 differing in both magnitude and direction (e.g. from 92 loss to 322 gain). We explain differences with reference to two characteristics of the modelling techniques: data input requirements (presence/absence vs. presence-only approaches) and assumptions made by each algorithm when extrapolating beyond the range of data used to build the model. The effects of these factors should be carefully considered when using this modelling approach to predict species ranges. Main conclusions We highlight an important source of uncertainty in assessments of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and emphasize that model predictions should be interpreted in policy-guiding applications along with a full appreciation of uncertainty.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The effects of Pleistocene glaciations on the genetic characteristics of the most austral conifer in the world, Pilgerodendron uviferum, were analysed with specific reference to the hypothesis that the species persisted locally in ice-free areas in temperate South America.
Results indicated that Pilgerodendron populations are highly monomorphic, probably reflecting past population bottlenecks and reduced gene flow. Southernmost populations tend to be the least genetically variable and were therefore probably more affected by glacial activity than northern ones. Populations located outside ice limits seem to have been isolated during the glacial period. The presence of centres of genetic diversity, together with the lack of a significant correlation between genetic and geographical distances and the absence of geographical patterns of allelic frequencies at most analysed alleles, may indicate that Pilgerodendron did not advance southward after the last glaciation from a unique northern refugium, but spread from several surviving populations in ice-free areas in Patagonia instead.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Governments are often accused of responding only to short-term and parochial considerations. It is therefore remarkable that representatives of 190 countries recently committed themselves at the Convention on Biological Diversity to reducing biodiversity loss. This presents conservation biologists with perhaps their greatest challenge of the decade. The authors of this Policy Forum describe approaches to identifying more of the earth's biological diversity; understanding how biological, geophysical, and geochemical processes interact; and presenting scientific knowledge in time to contribute to and achieve the 2010 target.Resource Type: Journal Papers
©2014 UNEP All rights reserved