National Parks and other protected areas not only provide a safe haven for biodiversity, they provide benefits to local communities and preserve some of the most beautiful places on our planet. ‘Coverage of protected areas’ is also a specific indicator in the 2010 Target of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Obtaining the data necessary to monitor trends in protected areas requires a massive effort by national authorities to compile, analyse and then distribute this data to the centralised depository of the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). With a living and growing system of protected areas that now exceed 100,000 sites covering 19 million square kilometres, you can imagine that this is no small task!
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
In order to build on the momentum created by the 2010 target of the Convention on Biological Diversity, we propose a shift away from a large set of static targets towards a smaller number of specific targets. Specifically, we present three categories of targets (red, green and blue) with examples of each. These relate respectively to (1) those biodiversity outcomes that must be avoided to avert situations that are deleterious for people, (2) the highly valued biodiversity conservation priorities, and (3) an improved scientific understanding necessary for adaptive management now and into the future.Resource Type: Journal Papers
In response to global declines in biodiversity, some 190 countries have pledged, under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. Moreover, this target has recently been incorporated into the Millennium Development Goals in recognition of the impact of biodiversity loss on human well-being. Timely information on where and in what ways the target has or has not been met, as well as the likely direction of future trends, depends on a rigorous, relevant, and comprehensive suite of biodiversity indicators with which to track changes over time, to assess the impacts of policy and management responses, and to identify priorities for action. How far have we come in meeting these needs, and is it sufficient?Resource Type: Journal Papers
Advice on assessment of biodiversity impacts is required to support trade negotiations and reduce risks of unforeseen consequences for important biodiversity and those who depend on it for their livelihoods. This paper explores linkages between biodiversity and trade and draws on examples from the agriculture sector to reinforce the need to build a biodiversity-inclusive process for as-sessing impacts of trade policies and agreements.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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
This paper presents a trial of a species population trend indicator for evaluating progress towards the 2010 biodiversity target in Europe, using existing data. The indicator integrates trends on different species (groups), and can be aggregated across habitats and countries. Thus, the indicator can deliver both headline messages for high-level decision-making and detailed information for in-depth analysis, using data from different sources, collected with different methods.Resource Type: Journal Papers
This paper reviews the current global extent of protected areas in terms of geopolitical and habitat coverage, and considers their value as a global indicator of conservation action or response. The paper discusses the role of the World Database on Protected Areas and collection and quality control issues, and identifies areas for improvement, including how conservation effectiveness indicators may be included in the database to improve the value of protected areas data as an indicator for meeting global biodiversity targets.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Although Asian bamboo species constitute a non-timber forest product of major cultural and economic importance, no detailed regional assessment of their distribution patterns has previously been made. To assess the potential of the existing bamboo species distribution data for production of regional mapping tools for planning the conservation of forest-based biodiversity, data on bamboo distribution and forest cover were combined. Over 1000 bamboo species from 60 genera of woody bamboos were incorporated, allowing the mapping of individual species or groups of species and genera, along with potential species richness and biodiversity hotspots. Over 6.3 million km2 of Asian forest potentially contains bamboo, with highest densities indicated from northeastern India through Burma to southern China, and through Sumatra to Borneo. The highest figures for potential species richness (144 spp per square km) were recorded in forests of south China, including Hainan Island. Despite substantial inadequacies and inconsistencies in knowledge of the taxonomy and distribution of bamboo species, this approach may provide a valuable tool for planning in situ conservation of forest biodiversity.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Feeding a rapidly expanding human population will require a large increase in the supply of agricultural products during the coming decades. This may lead to the transformation of many landscapes from natural vegetation cover to agricultural land use, unless increases in crop yields reduce the need for new farmland. Here, we assess the evidence that past increases in agricultural yield have spared land for wild nature. We investigated the relationship between the change in the combined energy yield of the 23 most energetically important food crops over the period 1979–1999 and the change in per capita cropland area for 124 countries over the same period.
Our results show that land-sparing is a weak process that occurs under a limited set of circumstances, but that it can have positive outcomes for the conservation of wild nature.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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