Seagrasses are unique as they are the only marine flowering plants. Seagrass beds form complex physical structures and are a highly productive ecosystem. This enables them to support a considerable biomass and diversity of associated species. For the first time the World Atlas of Seagrasses summarises the opinion and science of the world's leading experts on the global status of the ecosystem.
The Atlas is a collaboration of more than 50 authors from 25 nations. Fully illustrated, the Atlas contains the first global and regional maps of seagrass distribution and a wealth of information on key issues concerning this 'forgotten' ecosystem.Resource Type: Books
How do bioenergy policies relate to the REDD+ mechanism, is the subject of this new Bioenergy Issue Paper jointly authored by UNEP and UNEP-WCMC.
The potential contribution of bioenergy in reducing global emissions of greenhouse gases has been widely debated, both in terms of climate change mitigation potential and potential risk of increases in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from land use change. This has raised the question of how bioenergy policies relate to the REDD+ mechanism developed under the UNFCCC. This issue paper examines the complexity of this relationship and stresses the importance of ensuring policy coherence across the relevant sectors.
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The World Mangrove Atlas is the first significant attempt to provide an overview of the distribution of mangroves worldwide. Mapped data were gathered from a wide range of sources and synthesised into a series of regional maps. Related texts describe the species, areal extent and other summary information on the currently known status of mangroves in each country. Produced in association with the International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), The World Mangrove Atlas presents a baseline inventory of mangroves at the end of the twentieth century.Resource Type: Books
Coral reefs are a critical global resource, both biologically, and in socio-economic terms. Coral reefs are also highly sensitive to climatic influences and appear to number among the most sensitive of all ecosystems to temperature changes, exhibiting the phenomenon known as coral bleaching when stressed by higher than normal sea temperatures.Resource Type: Reports
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.
Co‐benefits, often called multiple benefits, are the positive impacts of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) that are additional to emissions reductions. These include ecosystem and social benefits such as biodiversity and non‐timber forest products. Potential co‐benefits from REDD are widely relevant in Tanzania, where forests and woodlands support the livelihoods of 87% of the rural poor (Milledge et al. 2007). Conserving biodiversity also promotes the continued provision of these benefits under environmental change (Campbell et al. 2009), thus increasing resilience to climate change. Depending on where REDD action is taken, the co‐benefits delivered will vary. Simple mapping tools can help identify how carbon, other services and pressures such as fire are distributed and relate to each other.
Here, we map the distribution of carbon stocks in relation to the possible co‐benefits of REDD, alongside other relevant factors. A new map of carbon in Tanzania’s ecosystems has been produced for this analysis.Resource Type: Reports
UNEP-WCMC, with support from the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), has launched a new website highlighting the potential for actions on reducing emissions from land use change to secure additional important benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem services (co-benefits). The website demonstrates the utility of spatial analyses to assist decision makers in identifying areas where high carbon, high biodiversity priority, and ecosystem service values overlap, which represent opportunities for securing co-benefits. It showcases UNEP-WCMC’s recent work with in-country partners on developing such analyses and includes an interactive mapping tool that allows users to explore the spatial relationships between carbon and co-benefits.Resource Type: Tools / Applications
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.
The dataset shows the global distribution of islands greater than about 0.06 sq-km. The information given here relates to version 1 of the dataset. This dataset is also known as the IBPow (Island Biodiversity Programme of Work) database.
Please view summary metadata for further details.Resource Type: Spatial Data / Maps
This tool provides interactive maps that allow users to explore the distribution of carbon density relative to areas high in biodiversity and areas which are nationally protected for different countries around the world. Users can view layers, show or hide layer content, as well as see how the distribution of carbon and biodiversity relates to other geographical features such as rivers, coastlines, and international boundaries.Resource Type: Spatial Data / Maps
Emissions from land use change mainly forest loss contribute 17 4% of total change, loss, 17.4% anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC 2007). The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is currently discussing incentives for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD). In addition to securing carbon, REDD can deliver co‐benefits, including conservation of forest biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem services. To help secure co‐benefits, it is useful to find out where high carbon, high biodiversity priority and ecosystem service values overlap.Resource Type: Posters
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