Since the late 1970s the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has delivered services that support implementation of international biodiversity-related agreements at global, regional and national levels. These services not only support the work of the agreement secretariats, but also of the advisory and governance bodies, and of governments party to the various agreements. The aim of this paper is to illustrate this work through examples of work we have undertaken.
The support that UNEP-WCMC provides is based on expert understanding of the agreements and how they work, resulting from many years of experience and close relationships with secretariats.Resource Type: Reports
Hotspot Ecosystem Research on the Margins of European Seas (HERMES) was one of the 40 most successful projects under the EU's 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Following completion of the project in March 2009, The HERMES Story is published jointly by HERMES and UNEP to inform policy and decision makers from around the world about the lessons learned and the amazing new insights into deep-sea biodiversity, structure, function and dynamics discovered under HERMES. The HERMES Story highlights the need for concerted action to protect the deep sea against the increasing pressures, threats and impacts from human activities and climate change, and provides inspiration for the development of similar deep-sea research projects in other regions.Resource Type: Reports
Marine conservation lags behind terrestrial in the establishment of protected areas. This was recognized by the Convention on Biological Diversity, whose members, in 2004, agreed to establish “comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative” systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2012. Halfway toward this target date, we look at the coverage of the world’s 5045 MPAs from a biogeographic perspective.Resource Type: Journal Papers
In order to build on the momentum created by the 2010 target of the Convention on Biological Diversity, we propose a shift away from a large set of static targets towards a smaller number of specific targets. Specifically, we present three categories of targets (red, green and blue) with examples of each. These relate respectively to (1) those biodiversity outcomes that must be avoided to avert situations that are deleterious for people, (2) the highly valued biodiversity conservation priorities, and (3) an improved scientific understanding necessary for adaptive management now and into the future.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Aquilaria spp. are the main source of gaharu, one of the most valuable non-timber products harvested from tropical forests. In order to assess the impact of gaharu harvesting on populations of Aquilaria spp. in Indonesia, the activities of gaharu collectors were assessed by accompanying them on collecting expeditions.
Given current harvesting practices, it is unlikely that gaharu is being sustainably harvested at present. The results suggest that the gaharu trade may have had a substantial impact on the population size of Aquilaria spp. in Indonesia, and their implications are discussed in the context of setting harvest quotas for regulation of trade, as required by CITES.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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 paper reviews the current global extent of protected areas in terms of geopolitical and habitat coverage, and considers their value as a global indicator of conservation action or response. The paper discusses the role of the World Database on Protected Areas and collection and quality control issues, and identifies areas for improvement, including how conservation effectiveness indicators may be included in the database to improve the value of protected areas data as an indicator for meeting global biodiversity targets.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The deep sea is the oldest and largest biome on Earth, yet we have little knowledge of the ecosystems and processes in these dark, hidden depths. Only in the last two decades have new technologies enabled scientists to start exploring this last frontier – and their discoveries are fascinating but alarming: the deep sea is teeming with life but is already showing clear signs of anthropogenic impacts despite its remoteness. Many vulnerable deep-sea habitats and communities are being destroyed by fishing and are under threat from increasing exploitation of their mineral and living resources.Resource Type: Reports
The Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 was adopted at the 10th Conference of the Parties in Nagoya, Japan. The plan outlines 20 Aichi Targets to achieve global biodiversity conservation. A fundamental global approach to biodiversity conservation is the use of protected areas. Arguably all 20 Aichi Targets have implications for the establishment and management of protected areas, but only Target 11 addresses them directly. This paper carries out a clause by clause analysis of Target 11 and makes recommendations to countries on interpreting each clause in order to best achieve biodiversity conservation using protected areas. Despite containing only 61 words, Target 11 is surprisingly dense. It applies to both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and sets goals for spatial planning (representativeness, ecological connectivity and areas of importance for biodiversity); protected areas management (including management effectiveness and social equity); and criteria about what counts toward being a protected area under Target 11. The authors argue for a holistic interpretation of Target 11 as a way for the global community to use protected areas to change the current unacceptable trends in global biodiversity loss.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The importance of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) to rural income was examined in a highland community in the Sierra de Manantlán Biosphere Reserve, Jalisco-Colima, Mexico. Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) techniques were used to interview 70 of households in the community of El Terrero. Of the nine plant species identified as NTFP sources, the two principal species traded by the community were tila (derived from the flowers and fruits of the tree Ternstroemia lineata), and blackberry (Rubus spp.). Collecting and selling of NTFPs was almost exclusively undertaken by women, with 80 of respondents participating. NTFP sale ranked as the most important source of cash income for 30 of women interviewed, and either second- or third-most important for the remainder. The research examined harvesting impact on populations of T. lineata, an understory tree species characteristic of cloud forest, which this was assessed in the four most-frequented collecting sites. Our results suggested that current harvesting approaches appear to be sustainable, although 95 of the women interviewed reported a decline in resource availability within the last 15 years, apparently resulting from illegal cutting. Suggestions are made with respect to the sustainable development of NTFP resources to help alleviate poverty within the Reserve.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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