Putting biodiversity at the heart of decision-making

We believe that the environment will be better managed if decision makers have the right information, tools and capacity to value biodiversity fully

Evaluating options and trade-offs

The issue

Biodiversity and ecosystem services are complex and the interactions between them and development processes are more complex still. With many diverse and conflicting demands on land and natural resources, understanding the likely impacts of current policy decisions on biodiversity is both crucial and challenging. Climate change adds to the complexity of this task.

Our approach

At UNEP-WCMC we use our skills in modelling ecosystem interactions to explore likely future responses to change. As part of a project funded by the MacArthur Foundation, we are identifying current and future trade-offs between the demand for commodities and biodiversity in the Great Lakes of Africa, the watersheds of the Andes and the Greater Mekong and its headwaters. The project has already modelled current and predicted land use change in the Great Lakes of Africa to reveal which watersheds are important for biodiversity and future commodity provision.

Our projects

We also provide specialized assessments to help authorities evaluate options for managing the wildlife trade, particularly in the context of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Our reviews of the biology and distribution of species, levels of trade and resource management regulations form the basis for management decisions by wildlife importing and exporting authorities.

Working with partners on adaptation to climate change in Nepal, Peru and Uganda, UNEP-WCMC supports improved assessments of people’s vulnerability to climate change. These assessments take account of climate change impacts on ecosystems and the services they provide that support local livelihoods, and help inform the choices available to vulnerable communities for adapting to climate change. Our wider work on ecosystem-based adaptation examines the effectiveness of using biodiversity and ecosystem services to help people adapt to the impacts of climate change, with the aim of informing decisions on adaptation policy and practice more broadly.

See our featured work on Species Assessments

Can we help you?