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
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
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!
Written by UNEP-WCMC and UNEP-FI, this paper provides an overview of biodiversity offsets as a mitigation mechanism and examples of the different types of global regulatory and voluntary initiatives adopting this concept, as well as highlighting some existing challenges and opportunities.Resource Type: Reports
Aquilaria spp. are the main source of gaharu, one of the most valuable non-timber products harvested from tropical forests. In order to assess the impact of gaharu harvesting on populations of Aquilaria spp. in Indonesia, the activities of gaharu collectors were assessed by accompanying them on collecting expeditions.
Given current harvesting practices, it is unlikely that gaharu is being sustainably harvested at present. The results suggest that the gaharu trade may have had a substantial impact on the population size of Aquilaria spp. in Indonesia, and their implications are discussed in the context of setting harvest quotas for regulation of trade, as required by CITES.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Produced jointly between UNEP-WCMC and UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, this document reviews the business case for biodiversity; provides an overview of impacts by sector and highlights existing and potential opportunities for companies. The document covers a wide range of sectors and complements existing and ongoing work on business and biodiversity.Resource Type: Reports
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
This report presents the results of a study into potential overlap between extractive industries (mining, oil and gas) and natural World Heritage sites. At the time of this study, the UNESCO World Heritage (WH) List included 217 properties recognized for their natural Outstanding Universal Value. UNEP-WCMC, with inputs from a number of partners, conducted an analysis at the global level of the association between the IHS and SNL global datasets on extractive activities and natural WH sites. Noting the inherent limitations of using global data for site-scale analysis, the resulting report provides statistical and geographical data on the extent of potential overlap indicated by the global extractives datasets. The report provides discussions and conclusions and suggests possible next steps.Resource Type: Reports
The importance of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) to rural income was examined in a highland community in the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve, Jalisco-Colima, Mexico. Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) techniques were used to interview 70 of households in the community of El Terrero. Of the nine plant species identified as NTFP sources, the two principal species traded by the community were tila (derived from the flowers and fruits of the tree Ternstroemia lineata), and blackberry (Rubus spp.). Collecting and selling of NTFPs was almost exclusively undertaken by women, with 80 of respondents participating. NTFP sale ranked as the most important source of cash income for 30 of women interviewed, and either second- or third-most important for the remainder. The research examined harvesting impact on populations of T. lineata, an understory tree species characteristic of cloud forest, which this was assessed in the four most-frequented collecting sites. Our results suggested that current harvesting approaches appear to be sustainable, although 95 of the women interviewed reported a decline in resource availability within the last 15 years, apparently resulting from illegal cutting. Suggestions are made with respect to the sustainable development of NTFP resources to help alleviate poverty within the Reserve.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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