Datasets Available from UNEP-WCMC: Excluding WDPA
Access to UNEP-WCMC datasets is provided on the understanding that you read and consent to be bound by the Terms and Conditions attached. For the purposes of this Agreement the “Data” comprise any of the spatial data and associated attribute data downloadable from the UNEP-WCMC website, excluding the World Database on Protected Areas.
Based on the Wilderness Index developed by the Australian Heritage Commission (R. Lesslie, in litt., 30 May 1998). The wilderness value of any given point is essentially a measure of remoteness from human influence and is assessed on the basis of: remoteness from settlement (settled land or points of permanent occupation), from access (constructed vehicle access routes), and apparent naturalness (remoteness from permanent manmade structures) (Lesslie and Maslen, 1995). The analysis is carried out on a grid, using data from the Digital Chart of the World (DCW), and remoteness is measured as a distance from each grid point to the nearest feature of each class within a given radius (generally 30 km). Wilderness value is the sum of standardised values for each indicator class.Resource Type: Spatial Data / Maps
The Critical Site Network (CSN) Tool is a new online resource for the conservation of 294 species of waterbirds and the important sites upon which they depend in Africa and Western Eurasia. Leading global conservation organisations working for the protection of waterbirds and their habitats have joined forces to develop this tool, strengthening the implementation of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.Resource Type: Tools / Applications
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
UNEP-WCMC, with the financial support of the UN-REDD programme, wrote a paper on biodiversity monitoring for REDD+ published in the journal "Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability" as part of ongoing work on REDD+ safeguards. The paper observes the following three challenge to biodiversity monitoring for REDD: choosing which aspects of biodiversity to monitor, the difficulty of attributing particular changes to REDD+ and the likely scarcity of resources for biodiversity monitoring. It proposes three responses which may address these challenges: 1) agreed policy targets that identify what should be monitored; 2) making links to existing biodiversity monitoring and to monitoring to estimate GHG emissions and removals; and 3) developing clear theories of change to assist in determining which changes in biodiversity can be attributed to REDD+. The paper is available on the journal website here.Resource Type: Tools / Applications
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
On October 16, at the REDD+ Day of CBD COP 11 in Hyderabad, the UN-REDD programme launched a policy brief focusing on multiple benefits and safeguards under REDD+. The paper elaborated on the use of tools and data to support decisions, and presented examples from implementation in REDD+ countries.
REDD+ is increasingly considered to have the potential to contribute to a range of policy goals in addition to climate change mitigation in the forestry sector. It is also recognized that there are social and environmental risks that may arise as the REDD+ mechanism is being implemented.
What has been less widely acknowledged is that avoiding significant risks and securing additional benefits from REDD+ could be the key to the overall success of the mechanism. By securing benefits beyond carbon, REDD+ can draw support from broader social and political constituencies; demonstrate that it enables a wider range of values to be realized; and generates sustainable income sources.
For governments and other stakeholders to adopt a broader approach to REDD+, a strong evidence base is needed to demonstrate that additional benefits will indeed be achieved, and contributions to national and local priorities accomplished. The Policy Brief outlines a series of analytical approaches that can help provide an evidence base to inform REDD+ decisions. It focuses on addressing environmental risks and benefits, and provides examples from Panama, Nigeria, DRC and Indonesia of where these approaches are already used.
The policy brief was drafted collaboratively with UNEP by UNEP-WCMC as part of their work for the UN-REDD Programme.Resource Type: Tools / Applications
The continued growth of human populations and of per capita consumption have resulted in unsustainable exploitation of Earth’s biological diversity, exacerbated by climate change, ocean acidification, and other anthropogenic environmental impacts. We argue that effective conservation of biodiversity is essential for human survival and the maintenance of ecosystem processes. Despite some conservation successes (especially at local scales) and increasing public and government interest in living sustainably, biodiversity continues to decline. Moving beyond 2010, successful conservation approaches need to be reinforced and adequately financed. In addition, however, more radical changes are required that recognize biodiversity as a global public good, that integrate biodiversity conservation into policies and decision frameworks for resource production and consumption, and that focus on wider institutional and societal changes to enable more effective implementation of policy.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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