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
This report documents and analyses good practice examples of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation in Europe. Case studies on ecosystem-based approaches to mitigation involved peatland restoration or conservation (11 projects) and forest conservation, restoration and reforestation (2 projects). Case studies on ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation were divided into inland waters (28 projects), coastal zone (10 projects), agriculture and forestry (11 projects) and cities (9 projects).Resource Type: Reports
In 2008 UNEP-WCMC produced a report with a consortium of Chinese and international partners on research needs for reducing poverty through better ecosystem management in China. This work was for DFID, NERC and ESRC of the UK government, as a contribution to their design of a proposed international research programme on ecosystem services for poverty alleviation (www.nerc.ac.uk/research/programmes/espa/) The China ESPA report identified that China’s great progress in poverty reduction has slowed, as the remaining poor tend to be found in environments of low productivity or high risk of ecosystem degradation, such as mountains, grasslands and deserts. The government of China is investing heavily in poverty reduction and environmental management, with opportunities for improving the synergies between these activities. Research needs include better understanding of ecosystem functioning for multiple services, and development of methods to analyse policies and projects for both poverty reduction and supply of ecosystem services.Resource Type: Reports
UNEP-WCMC has been providing technical support to the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on biodiversity and climate change. We carried out three reviews of the recent scientific literature and these fed into the deliberations of the CBD’s Second Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Biodiversity and Climate Change. These reviews, entitled Links between Biodiversity and Climate change: Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation, have now been published as no 42 of the CBD Technical Series. This publication complements the main report from the CBD AHTEG which appears as CBD Technical Series No. 41 Connecting Biodiversity and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.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
A new, systematic review of the evidence on the effectiveness of ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation (EbA) has been carried out to review the effectiveness of EbA and highlight the knowledge gaps. This research was undertaken as a collaboration between BirdLife International, UNEP-WCMC, IIED and the University of Cambridge.
Ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation (EbA) integrate the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services into an overall strategy for helping people adapt to climate change. To date, however, insight into these approaches has often been based on anecdotal case studies of local people’s use of ecosystems. Although they are informative, they can provide rather limited insight in terms of measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of EbA, especially compared with technical or structural adaptation measures. A new, systematic review of EbA evidence has been carried out to interrogate the scientific literature and review studies from around the world, from many different ecosystems and adopting a wide range of adaptation approaches utilising ecosystems. We conclude that EbA approaches are effective and deserve greater policy attention and political support to reach their full potential.Resource Type: Reports
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