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
The 2003 UN List of Protected Areas, the thirteenth produced since 1962, records the global community's endeavour to conserve the Earth's natural places. This is the first version to attempt a comprehensive presentation of all the world's known protected areas, listing 102,102 sites covering 18.8 million sq km compared to just over 1,000 protected areas in 1962.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
This synthesis focuses on estimates of biodiversity change as projected for the 21st century by models or extrapolations based on experiments and observed trends. The term “biodiversity” is used in a broad sense as it is defined in the Convention on Biological Diversity to mean the abundance and distributions of and interactions between genotypes, species, communities, ecosystems and biomes. This synthesis pays particular attention to the interactions between biodiversity and ecosystem services and to critical “tipping points” that could lead to large, rapid and potentially irreversible changes. Comparisons between models are used to estimate the range of projections and to identify sources of uncertainty. Experiments and observed trends are used to check the plausibility of these projections. In addition we have identified possible actions at the local, national and international levels that can be taken to conserve biodiversity. We have called on a wide range of scientists to participate in this synthesis, with the objective to provide decision makers with messages that reflect the consensus of the scientific community and that will aid in the development of policy and management strategies that are ambitious, forward looking and proactive.Resource Type: Reports
Since about 1600, 486 animal species have been recorded extinct. This represents about 0.04 of all animal species so far described. In the same period, 600 plant species are known to have disappeared, about 0.25 of the total. These figures are much smaller than those of the Permian/Triassic and Cretaceous/Tertiary mass extinctions. One might therefore conclude that at present life on earth is at comparatively little risk of extinction. However, there is a growing body of data to show that the converse is true.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The United Nations List of Protected Areas is an essential reference document for all who want to understand the progress made in responding to the challenges of biodiversity loss and other environmental threats around the world. It is a record of extraordinary human achievement over 125 years - a commitment by nations, peoples, groups and individuals to safeguard areas of land and sea from destruction. Protected areas represent human ideals at their best - they express a long term vision and a broad sense of responsibility towards people and nature.
This version of the list is the twelfth in a series, each recording steady expansion in the total area protected. There are now some 12,754 areas in the UN List, covering almost 8% of the land surface of the world (a far smaller proportion of the oceans is protected). Compared to the previous, 1993 edition of the of the UN List, this report includes 2,933 more sites covering 3.9 million more square kilometres. At the end of the century it can be said that practically every country has protected areas; some have a very sophisticated network of sites.Resource Type: Reports
Chapter from Biodiversity Loss & Conservation in Fragmented Forest Landscapes. The Forests of Montane Mexico and South America.Resource Type: Reports
Substantial amounts of detailed biodiversity data exist for the world, and these data can be used to guide conservation priorities. WCMC compiled key data in order to identify areas of high species richness and endemism. This book is made available by kind permission of the UK Department for International Development for whom it was prepared.Resource Type: Reports
Projections indicate that species and ecosystems will be at maximum risk from human activities during the next few decades. Prompt action by the world community can minimise the eventual loss of species. Highest priorities should be to: (i) strengthen the management of ecosystems containing a large proportion of global biodiversity; (ii) help developing countries complete their biodiversity strategies and action plans, monitor their own biodiversity, and establish and maintain adequate national systems of conservation areas; (iii) support actions at the global level, providing benefit to all countries in managing their own biodiversity. Generally, resources will best be spent in safeguarding ecosystems and habitats that are viable and important for global biodiversity, and which are threatened by factors that can be controlled cost-effectively. Other important criteria are representativeness, complementarity and insurance.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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