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All humans rely on the provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting services of ecosystems for survival and well-being. While rich urban-dwellers also rely on local ecosystems for their survival, the rural poor are likely to bear the greatest burden of ecosystem degradation whilst having the least ability to cope with changes by obtaining goods and services from further afield.
The impact of changes or impairment of ecosystem services can have direct as well as complex indirect impacts on human health and well-being. While it is recognised that ecosystem modification can have a positive impact on human health and well-being through (for example, higher crop yields resulting from agricultural intensification) the limits and costs associated with ecosystem change are becoming clear.
UNEP-WCMC is collaborating with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a global indicator that will reflect these intricacies and show clearly how impacting on ecosystem goods and services can influence the health & well-being of communities directly dependent on them. This is a headline indicator of the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership, a global initiative to track progress towards the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) “2010 biodiversity target” to significantly reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010. The project has three main objectives:
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