"UNEP has been able to respond quickly and authoritatively to many global biodiversity challenges by tapping into WCMC's expert capabilities.”
UNEP Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General
Since the late 1970s the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has delivered services that support implementation of international biodiversity-related agreements at global, regional and national levels. These services not only support the work of the agreement secretariats, but also of the advisory and governance bodies, and of governments party to the various agreements. The aim of this paper is to illustrate this work through examples of work we have undertaken.
The support that UNEP-WCMC provides is based on expert understanding of the agreements and how they work, resulting from many years of experience and close relationships with secretariats.Resource Type: Reports
The World's oceans play a crucial role for life on the planet. Healthy seas and the services they provide are key to the future development of mankind. Our seas are highly dynamic, structured and complex systems. The seafloor consists of vast shelves and plains with huge mountains, canyons and trenches which dwarf similar structures on land. Ocean currents transport water masses many times larger than all rivers on Earth combined.
In this report, the locations of the most productive fishing grounds in the World - from shallow, coastal waters to the deep and high seas - are compared to projected scenarios of climate change, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, intensity of fisheries, land-based pollution, increase of invasive species infestations and growth in coastal development.Resource Type: Reports
Geographical range is considered a good predictor of the levels of isozyme variation in plants. Widespread species, often consisting of historically larger and more continuous populations, maintain higher polymorphism and are less affected by drift, which tends to erode genetic variation in more geographically restricted species. However, widespread species occurring in small and disjunct populations may not fit this pattern. In this study we examined genetic variation in Pilgerodendron uviferum, a conifer endemic to temperate forests of southern South America.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Stipitate hydnoid ('tooth') fungi are considered to be threatened throughout much of central and northern Europe. In response to concern about the status of these fungi in the UK, a Biodiversity Action Plan has been developed for 14 species in this group. As a first step towards implementation of this plan, a number of surveys have been initiated, to determine the current status and distribution of hydnoid fungi. An overview of the results of these surveys is described. A series of distribution maps are presented, based on a compilation of early records and the results of a recent field survey in Scottish coniferous forests. The difficulties of interpreting early records are discussed, with particular reference to the taxonomie confusion that has surrounded this group of fungi. Although available data provide little evidence for decline of hydnoid fungi, a number of species display very restricted distributions within Scotland. The recent discovery of several species new to Britain emphasises the need for further field surveys to define the current status of these fungi with greater accuracy.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
The forests of eastern Tanzania are a globally important biodiversity hotspot. In this study 361 eastern Tanzanian restricted range forest tree taxa were assessed. Of these taxa, 223 occurred in the Eastern Arc, 150 in Coastal forests, 17 in Northern forests and 21 in the Lake Nyasa forests. The majority of the taxa had restricted elevational ranges with 76.3 occurring in no more than two 200 m elevational bands out of a total potential elevation range of 3000 m. The majority of the taxa occupied a small area in the eastern Tanzanian forests, with 201 taxa being only found at a few sites. In determining priority areas for conservation, selection of taxon definitions can have important effects. For example, tree size varies with elevation, so if only large trees are used then site selection will be biased towards particular areas.Resource Type: Journal Papers
UNEP-WCMC produces reports for a number of fora including CITES, the European Commission and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Recent examples of these reports can be downloaded here in PDF format.Resource Type: Reports
This study demonstrates the utility of carbon isotope discrimination in describing genetic adaptation to arid environments, although it is probably most useful in detecting differentiation when the strategy of the species under investigation is to increase water use efficiency, rather than drought-avoidance. The results suggest that populations on the eastern and western sides of the Andes should be treated as separate management units for the purposes of conserving the genetic resource of this species.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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