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 Earths 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 projects 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.
Steve Carpenter | EurekAlert!
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