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
The UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) is the first analysis of the UK’s natural environment in terms of the benefits it provides to society and continuing economic prosperity. Part of the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) initiative, the UK NEA - which commenced in mid-2009 - will be reporting in early 2011. It is an inclusive process involving many government, academic, NGO and private sector institutions.
The National Biodiversity Indicators Portal is the leading resource for information on national biodiversity indicators. This portal is a companion website to the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (BIP), which provides indicator information at the global level.
This website provides guidance and examples to support the development and effective use of biodiversity indicators. These capacity building resources are the product of more than five years of experience by UNEP-WCMC and the BIP. It is designed principally to support biodiversity indicators at the national level, but it is relevant for working from the local to global scales.
Diseases affecting coral reefs have increased in frequency and severity in recent decades. These diseases combine with existing human induced impacts on coral reefs to compromise their health and sustainability. Up to date information on the global abundance and distribution of diseases is critical in order to predict these impacts, to understand how current reef management practices and human impacts affect the spread and severity of diseases, and to inform policy and management decision making.Resource Type: Tools / Applications
One third of the world’s population lives in coastal areas and rapid development of these areas has meant increased construction of coastal infrastruc- ture (e.g. ports, navigation channels, coastal de- fence) and related activities (e.g. land reclamation, beach nourishment), which has inevitably led to conflicting priorities between coral reef conservation and economic growth. The key impacts of these ac- tivities, if not managed, include:
• Direct loss of coral reef caused by the removal or burial of reefs
• Lethal or sub-lethal stress to corals caused by elevated turbidity and sedimentation rates
Dredging and port construction activities potentially affect not only the site itself, but also surrounding ar- eas, through a large number of impact vectors (e.g. turbid plumes, sedimentation, release of contami- nants, bathymetric changes). Effects may be imme- diate or develop over a longer timeframe and may be temporary or permanent in nature, depending on a large number of factors.
The threat posed to coral reefs by biological invasion is unlikely to diminish and should therefore be considered in analyses of the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas.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
Global and regional coral reef area statistics are of considerable value in fields ranging from global environmental change to fisheries to conservation. Although widely quoted, Smith's 1978 figure of 600 000rkm2 is only an approximate calculation. The World Conservation Monitoring Centre has prepared a new estimate of reef coverage by mapping emergent reef crest and very shallow reef systems. These data were rasterised, using 1rkm grid squares, as a means of reducing errors arising from variation in scale. Global and regional reef coverages were calculated from the resultant grid. The total global area is estimated at 255 000rkm2, considerably lower than many previous estimates. Variation in reef area estimates is, in part, a function of variation in reef definition.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Governments are often accused of responding only to short-term and parochial considerations. It is therefore remarkable that representatives of 190 countries recently committed themselves at the Convention on Biological Diversity to reducing biodiversity loss. This presents conservation biologists with perhaps their greatest challenge of the decade. The authors of this Policy Forum describe approaches to identifying more of the earth's biological diversity; understanding how biological, geophysical, and geochemical processes interact; and presenting scientific knowledge in time to contribute to and achieve the 2010 target.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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