The decision was made today at the General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and should help provide the scientific knowledge needed to ensure the sustainable use of our valuable ecosystems.
Ecosystems provide benefits essential for life on Earth (food, water shelter, habitat, recovery of nutrients, soil formation and retention) as well as cultural and recreational services (spiritual, aesthetic, educational and eco-tourism). In 2005, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) reported that, because of human actions, more than 60% of ecosystem services were degraded or being used unsustainably.
‘Climate change, pollution, changes in land-use, and invasive species, coupled with population growth, increased consumption, globalization and urbanization, have put enormous pressure on the environment to provide the services that we need,’ said Hal Mooney of the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University in California and chair of the expert group recommending the new programme.
While the MA provided a baseline of where society is at in relation to its use of the resources that support us all, there is an enormous amount of research that still needs to be done, particularly in the knowledge areas that were severely lacking when the MA was being carried out.
ICSU—along with UNESCO and the United Nations University—has taken the lead on this and will establish ‘Ecosystem Change and Human Well-being’, a major international programme to help fill some of those knowledge gaps. But this research needs to be done now for it to be part of a second MA, if it were to take place in the next 5-7 years.
Mooney said, ‘In addition to science leaders this programme will engage people outside of the science community to set the agenda and use a participatory approach to decide on priorities. That way this programme will be well positioned to answer the policy relevant questions related to the monumental issues that society is facing in sustaining the environment that provides the goods and services that are vital for our survival.’
This programme is important not just to feed into an assessment but also because the science itself is important. It links both natural and social sciences with ecosystem services and integrates the three pillars of sustainable development—environment, economic and social.
‘Taking an ecosystem services-based approach makes it clear that alleviating poverty and protecting the environment are parts of the same human development agenda, not adversaries’, said Bob Scholes, a systems ecologist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.
‘Developing countries, especially those in Africa, have a choice on how they raise the overall wealth of their people: once-off by destroying their abundant natural capital, or sustainably by responsible use.’Media enquiries
The 29th ICSU GA and associated events are being hosted by AICIMO—the ICSU National Scientific Member in Mozambique—under the auspices of the Government of Mozambique and in cooperation with the ICSU Regional Office for Africa. For more information and details of the GA programme: www.icsu.org/3_mediacentre/GA_29.htmlAbout ICSU
More information is available in the Executive Summary, from the report recommending the programme: www.icsu.org/3_mediacentre/29GA/Ecosystem_Change_Executive_Summary.pdf
Jacinta Legg | alfa
How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
24.05.2017 | Life Sciences
24.05.2017 | Life Sciences