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Harrison I.J.,IUCN WCPA Freshwater Task Force | Green P.A.,City College of New York | Juffe-Bignoli D.,United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center | Vorosmarty C.J.,City College of New York
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2016

Protected areas, although often terrestrially focused and less frequently designed to protect freshwater resources, can be extremely important for conserving freshwater biodiversity and supporting human water security necessary for people to survive and thrive. This study measured the quantity of water that is being provided by protected areas to areas downstream, and how threatened protected areas are in terms of their water provision. Building on a Freshwater Provision Index, the numbers of people who live downstream from these protected areas around the world were then assessed. The same process was applied to areas where there are no protected areas. Protected areas deliver 20% of the global total of approximately 40 000 km3 year−1 of continental runoff. More than one-quarter of water provisions supplied by the world's protected areas are exposed to low levels of threat and less than 10% are exposed to high levels of threat; this is compared with higher levels of threat for provisions from non-protected areas, where nearly one quarter of the provisions are exposed to high threat and only 10% are exposed to low threat. Nearly two-thirds of the global population is living downstream of the world's protected areas as potential users of freshwater provisions supplied by these areas. Despite the overall large volume of low-threat water supplied by protected areas, globally 80% of the downstream human community users receive water from upstream protected areas under high threat, and no continent has less than 59% of its downstream users receiving water from upstream protected areas under high threat. Globally, increased attention to reduce the threats to fresh water in areas under protection, as well as designation and management of additional areas, are needed to safeguard freshwater flows, and support biodiversity conservation and the provision of freshwater ecosystem services. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Mora C.,Dalhousie University | Mora C.,University of Hawaii at Manoa | Tittensor D.P.,Dalhousie University | Tittensor D.P.,United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center | And 4 more authors.
PLoS Biology | Year: 2011

The diversity of life is one of the most striking aspects of our planet; hence knowing how many species inhabit Earth is among the most fundamental questions in science. Yet the answer to this question remains enigmatic, as efforts to sample the world's biodiversity to date have been limited and thus have precluded direct quantification of global species richness, and because indirect estimates rely on assumptions that have proven highly controversial. Here we show that the higher taxonomic classification of species (i.e., the assignment of species to phylum, class, order, family, and genus) follows a consistent and predictable pattern from which the total number of species in a taxonomic group can be estimated. This approach was validated against well-known taxa, and when applied to all domains of life, it predicts ~8.7 million (±1.3 million SE) eukaryotic species globally, of which ~2.2 million (±0.18 million SE) are marine. In spite of 250 years of taxonomic classification and over 1.2 million species already catalogued in a central database, our results suggest that some 86% of existing species on Earth and 91% of species in the ocean still await description. Renewed interest in further exploration and taxonomy is required if this significant gap in our knowledge of life on Earth is to be closed. © 2011 Mora et al. Source

Rodriguez-Rodriguez D.,Institute of Economics | Bomhard B.,United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center | Butchart S.H.M.,BirdLife International | Foster M.N.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Biological Conservation | Year: 2011

Through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the world's governments recently adopted a target to protect "at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas" by 2020. One of the CBD's thematic programmes of work focuses on mountains, given their importance for biodiversity and other ecosystem services, and their vulnerability to global change. We evaluated current levels of protection for mountains at multiple scales. Encouragingly, the CBD's 17% target has already been almost met at a global scale: 16.9% of the world's mountain areas outside Antarctica fall within protected areas. However, protection of mountain areas at finer scales remains uneven and is largely insufficient, with 63% (125) of countries, 57% (4) of realms, 67% (8) of biomes, 61% (437) of ecoregions and 53% (100) of Global 200 priority ecoregions falling short of the target. The target also calls for protected areas to be focussed "especially [at] areas of particular importance for biodiversity" Important Bird Areas and Alliance for Zero Extinction sites represent existing global networks of such sites. It is therefore of major concern that 39% and 45% respectively of these sites in mountain areas remain entirely unprotected. Achievement of the 2020 CBD target in mountain regions will require more focused expansion of the protected area network in addition to enhanced management of individual sites and the wider countryside in order to ensure long term conservation of montane biodiversity and the other ecosystem services it provides. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Newbold T.,United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Land-use change is one of the main drivers of current and likely future biodiversity loss. Therefore, understanding how species are affected by it is crucial to guide conservation decisions. Species respond differently to land-use change, possibly related to their traits. Using pan-tropical data on bird occurrence and abundance across a human land-use intensity gradient, we tested the effects of seven traits on observed responses. A likelihood-based approach allowed us to quantify uncertainty in modelled responses, essential for applying the model to project future change. Compared with undisturbed habitats, the average probability of occurrence of bird species was 7.8 per cent and 31.4 per cent lower, and abundance declined by 3.7 per cent and 19.2 per cent in habitats with low and high human land-use intensity, respectively. Five of the seven traits tested affected the observed responses significantly: long-lived, large, non-migratory, primarily frugivorous or insectivorous forest specialists were both less likely to occur and less abundant in more intensively used habitats than short-lived, small, migratory, non-frugivorous/insectivorous habitat generalists. The finding that species responses to land use depend on their traits is important for understanding ecosystem functioning, because species' traits determine their contribution to ecosystem processes. Furthermore, the loss of species with particular traits might have implications for the delivery of ecosystem services. Source

Sandbrook C.,United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center | Sandbrook C.,University of Cambridge | Adams W.M.,University of Cambridge
Society and Natural Resources | Year: 2012

Nature-based tourism is widely considered a conservation strategy because it can provide benefits for local people and thereby increase support for conservation and contribute to development. However, concerns have been raised over the uneven distribution of benefits. Here we use access analysis to investigate the distribution of tourism benefits at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, and the underlying factors constraining access to benefits. We introduce two new categories of engagement in tourism: active (for example through employment) and passive (for example through revenue sharing). Benefits from active engagement were often monetary, and access to them was often tightly constrained. In contrast, benefits from passive engagement were often nonmonetary and were more widely accessible. By analyzing together multiple active and passive pathways to tourism engagement, the study reveals that tourism benefits in some form can reach a wide range of local people, even where access to individual pathways is tightly constrained. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC. Source

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