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
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
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
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
With biodiversity still in rapid decline, effective and policy relevant indicators are urgently needed. The current indicator framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is widely influential and includes many good measures. However, each of the CBD indicators presently exists in isolation. It is not clear how they relate to each other, nor how they can be used to assess and inform policies for stemming biodiversity loss.
This summary report aims to provide the European Commission with an overview of the likely impact of climate change on biodiversity in the European Union and indications as to how the design and implementation of current policy might need to be adapted in order to ensure that the EU respects its commitment to reduce biodiversity loss by 2010 and beyond.Resource Type: Reports
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
This study makes use of extensive spatial datasets, previously unavailable, to provide a comprehensive assessment of the conservation status of biodiversity throughout the tropics. The extent to which potential habitats and closed moist forests are represented in protected areas is assessed. Priorities for conservation action are identified on the basis of a country's relative importance for a given habitat and the extent to which it is protected. National importance for biodiversity is also examined in relation to natural and foreign investments in protected areas.Resource Type: Reports
This paper reviews the potential for multiple benefits that might be attained by reducing emissions from deforestation (RED) through a mechanism developed under the UNFCCC. These benefits are relevant to national commitments under several environmental and sustainable development conventions and instruments, and may not be directly correlated with reduced carbon emissions. The design of the mechanism and its implementation will affect the degree to which these other benefits, such as biodiversity conservation, livelihoods, watershed protection and other ecosystem goods and services, are obtained.Resource Type: Reports
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