Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ecologist plays critical role in first global ecosystem study

31.03.2005


Up to 60 percent of "ecosystem services" that support life on earth, such as food, water and climate regulation, are crumbling at an unsustainable rate, members of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) project report here today (March 30). Designed to assist global policy-makers, MA is the first international study to appraise the status of Earth’s diverse ecosystems and their associated impact on human well-being.



Stephen Carpenter, a zoology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a world-renowned expert on human-ecology interactions, served on a 13-member panel of leading natural and social scientists that managed the execution of the four-year, $24 million project. Involving more than 1,300 scientists from 95 countries, the MA kicked off in 2001 under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), with financial backing from the Global Environment Facility, the UN Foundation and the World Bank, among other donors.

At the project’s helm is a board that includes representatives of international conventions, UN agencies, scientific organizations and leaders from the private sector, civil society and indigenous organizations. "The value in this initiative was that we made an attempt to be as unbiased as possible by having every bias at the table," says Carpenter.


Four working groups implemented different aspects of the immense study. Teams assessed current scientific knowledge, evolving trends and changes in ecosystem services both at the global and regional scale. Researchers also monitored strengths and weaknesses in ecosystem management strategies worldwide, and developed integrated scenarios of the future.

Carpenter co-chaired the "scenarios" group, with assistance from Elena Bennett, a UW-Madison postdoctoral researcher in ecology. With an international team of ecologists, economists, sociologists and demographers, the scenarios group surveyed about 100 industrial, government and scientific leaders to develop four plausible snapshots of the world in 2050.

What the exercise revealed is that "under certain scenarios we get favorable outcomes for human life-support, but these depend on major changes in policy, institutions and practices that are not currently under way," says Carpenter. "In other words, the future is in our hands."

In the 2050 scenario "global orchestration," world powers are implementing policies that focus on the equitable distribution of wealth and the alleviation of social problems such as poverty. Though such a trend could increase the capacity to confront environmental problems, an undue focus on social ills could reduce the emphasis on the environment and, indirectly, human well-being, write the scenario experts.

In the "techno-garden" scenario, the 2050 world is hyper-connected and rapidly emerging technologies can effectively boost ecosystem services. With new technology, however, could also come new environmental dilemmas, the experts postulate. In the "order from strength" scenario, the world could potentially organize around one superpower that wields military or economic power to control global activities. While such dominance could be used in some regions to environmental benefit, inequities could also arise as the world becomes increasingly polarized.

Finally, the "adapting mosaic" scenario envisions a world in which local rather than global institutions hold regional power and implement local environmental change. But the potential downside could be the neglect of global environmental problems such as climate change and declining oceanic fisheries.

"I feel that the trends in the world today are much more complicated that I thought before," says Carpenter, reflecting on the work. "I personally attach greatest hope in ongoing changes in personal values so that people live good lives that tread more lightly on the environment."

Steve Carpenter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wisc.edu

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Microtechnology industry is hiring – positive developments of past years continue
09.04.2018 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index with minor decline on a high overall level
20.03.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designer cells: artificial enzyme can activate a gene switch

22.05.2018 | Life Sciences

PR of MCC: Carbon removal from atmosphere unavoidable for 1.5 degree target

22.05.2018 | Earth Sciences

Achema 2018: New camera system monitors distillation and helps save energy

22.05.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>