New UN book links biodiversity and human security PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Fredrik Moberg   
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 14:12

Having important consequences for human well-being and security, protecting the earth's biodiversity is so much more than a moral responsibility. This is the starting point of a new book from Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Stockholm Resilience Centre's Johan Rockström and Maria Schultz contribute with a chapter.

The book, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Insecurity: A Planet in Peril, provides a broad assessment of the threats presented to human security and well-being by the loss of ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Interestingly, the book highlights already on the cover that biodiversity loss is one of the “critical planetary boundaries that has already been exceeded" — referring to the chapter by Stockholm Resilience Centre director Johan Rockström and Maria Schultz, head of the centre's programme on resilience and development (Swedbio).

Their chapter, “Contributing to resilience", deals with the linkages between biodiversity loss and the other planetary boundaries with a special emphasis on the relationship between biodiversity, climate change, resilience, poverty alleviation and human well-being.

Growing understanding
They conclude that if we continue with business as usual, we will soon reach tipping points, causing irreparable and irreversible damage to the major ecosystems that support life on our planet. Moreover, biodiversity loss interacts with several other planetary boundaries.

"The rate of biodiversity loss is one of three boundary processes where the analysis indicates that the safe boundary level has already been transgressed. This can increase the vulnerability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems to changes in climate and ocean acidity, thus reducing the safe boundary levels of these processes," write Rockström and Schultz.

Although we know quite little about how much and what kinds of biodiversity can be lost before resilience is eroded on a global scale,  there is a growing understanding of the importance of functional biodiversity in preventing ecosystems from tipping into undesired states when they are disturbed.

Rockström and Schultz's chapter underlines that the scale and pace of the destruction of biodiversity threaten to imperil us all."The planetary boundaries analysis reinforces earlier research on the urgent need for global action on bending the curve of biodiversity loss, not only as a way of preserving species on the planet, but as a strategic investment in human development for the future," write Johan Rockström and Maria Schultz.

Redressing damage done
The book is edited by Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and Felix Dodds, Executive Director of the Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future. The list of authors includes Thomas E. Lovejoy, Craig Bennett, Bob Watson, Achim Steiner, Jan McAlpine and Monique Barbut.

The book's 21 chapters examine the current state of biodiversity, the drivers of its loss and the governance mechanisms needed for conserving and restoring biodiversity. The book is intended to be a resource for conservationists, students and those in the private and public sectors “concerned to redress the damage being done to the natural world".

Source: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Insecurity. A Planet in Peril. Edited by Ahmed Djoghlaf , Felix Dodds.


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