The planet is a marvelous place: a place with blue skies, wild
storms, deep lakes, and rich and diverse ecosystems. The tides
ebb and flow, baby animals are born in the spring, and tropical
rain forests harbor an astonishing array of life. The Earth sustains
living things and provides humans with the resources to maintain a
bountiful way of life: water, soil, and nutrients to grow food, and the
mineral and energy resources to build and fuel modern society, among
many other things.
Conserving biodiversity and the ecosystem services that they provide is part of the
larger objective of promoting human well-being and sustainable development.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) 2005 has brought about a
fundamental change in the way that scientists perceive the role and value of
biodiversity, and recognizes the dynamics and linkages between people,
biodiversity and ecosystems. Human activities have direct and indirect impacts
on biodiversity and ecosystems, which in turn affects the ecosystems services that
they provide, and ultimately human well-being.
The fight to stop biodiversity loss is at a
critical moment. Species are currently
going extinct at up to 1,000 times the
natural background rate. Sixty per cent of
examined ecosystem services worldwide
have been degraded.
Although farmers do not receive any support from society for the contribution of the dehesa
to welfare of society and the environment, they still conserve, prune and reforest oaks to
maintain fruit production to feed and fatten Iberian pigs during the montanera or pannage.
The ability of the Iberian pig breed to feed on acorns is a key feature in maintaining the
One of the most important
reasons for loss of
biodiversity, is that conservation
and sustainable use of
natural resources is generally not
a viable financial option, and this
is because of a combination of
market and policy failures. Put
simply, natural resources are under-
valued because no account is
taken of the time it takes to produce
the next harvest, nor any costs
involved in managing lands for
future harvests, nor the environmental
and social costs associated
with loss of products.
The planet is a marvelous place with its blue skies, wild storms,
deep lakes, and rich and diverse ecosystems. The tides ebb and
flow, baby animals are born in the spring, and tropical rain
forests harbor an astonishing array of life. The Earth sustains living
things and provides humans with the resources they need to maintain
a bountiful way of life. These resources include water, soil, and nutrients
to grow food, and the mineral and energy resources to build and
fuel modern society, among many other things....
Global change, including climate change, ecosystem shifts and biodiversity loss as a result
of explosive human population growth and consumption, is emerging as one of the most
important issues of our time (Vitousek, 1994). Climate change in particular appears to be
altering the function, structure and stability of the Earth’s ecosystems (Lovelock, 2009). It has
been marked by an 80% increase in atmospheric CO2 level and a 0.
As rates of deforestation and land degradation, and losses of biodiversity and
ecosystem services, continue to rise globally, the international community is faced
with the challenge of finding land use interventions that can mitigate or reduce the
impact of these environmental issues. Agroforestry, the integration of trees in farming
systems, has the potential for providing rural livelihoods and habitats for species
outside formally protected lands, connecting nature reserves, and alleviating resourceuse
pressure on conservation areas.
Forest ecosystems cover large parts of the terrestrial land surface and are major
components of the terrestrial carbon (C) cycle. Most important, forest ecosystems
accumulate organic compounds with long C residence times in vegetation, detritus
and, in particular, the soil by the process of C sequestration. Trees, the major components
of forests, absorb large amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) by
photosynthesis, and forests return an almost equal amount to the atmosphere by
auto- and heterotrophic respiration.
Many indicators regarding the health of
the world’s environment remain firmly in
the red. Trends such as climate change,
water scarcity, air pollution, biodiversity
loss and ecosystem degradation all
continue to threaten our finite stock
of natural capital and the ability of
our economy to provide sustainable
growth and prosperity for all.
A great deal of this environmental damage is caused by the
way we do business. If we are to create a truly sustainable
global economy, then we must change our economic
models so that business can become part of the solution,
not part of the problem. ...
Transitioning to a low carbon and climate resilient economy, and more broadly „greening growth‟ will
require shifting significant amounts of capital from fossil fuels and resource-intensive and polluting
technologies to newer, clean technology and infrastructure. The appropriate investment landscape will also
need to be supported by policy to drive additional capital towards „greening‟ or accelerated phase-out of
long-lived black assets such as coal-fired power plants, refineries, buildings and energy infrastructure.
Biological invasions are one of the major threats to our native biodiversity. The
magnitude of biodiversity losses, land degradation and productivity losses of managed
and natural ecosystems due to invasive species is enormous. It has an adverse
impact on our efforts to maintain biodiversity and on our conservation programs,
and thus could create societal instability.
The land and forest fires that
hit the ASEAN region in 1997-
1998 have been so severe
that the United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP) labeled them
as among the most damaging in
recorded history. Their environmental,
economic and social dimensions
and impact, and the associated
transboundary haze pollution
have been profound. The
total economic losses in terms of
agriculture production, destruction
of forest lands, health, transportation,
tourism, and other economic
endeavors have been estimated at
Three of the world’s greatest challenges over the coming decades will be biodiversity loss,
climate change, and water shortages. Biodiversity loss will lead to the erosion of ecosystem
services and will increase vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Climate change will
lead to water scarcity, increased risk of crop failure, pest infestation, overstocking and
permanent degradation of grazing lands and livestock deaths. Water shortages affect
agricultural productivity, food security and human health.
Dynamical systems theory in mathematical biology and environmental science
has attracted much attention from many scientific fields as well as mathematics.
For example, “chaos” is one of its typical topics. Recently the preservation
of endangered species has become one of the most important issues
in biology and environmental science, because of the recent rapid loss of
biodiversity in the world. In this respect, permanence or persistence, new
concepts in dynamical systems theory, seem important.
Water contamination weakens or destroys natural
ecosystems that support human health, food production,
and biodiversity. Studies have estimated that the value of
ecosystem services is double the gross national product of
the global economy, and the role of freshwater ecosystems
in purifying water and assimilating wastes has been
valued at US$ 400 billion (2008$) (Costanza et al. 1997).
Freshwater ecosystems are among the most degraded on
the planet, and have suffered proportionately greater species
and habitat losses than terrestrial or marine ecosystems
(Revenga et al. 2000).
Nowadays, environmental issues including air and water pollution, climate
change, overexploitation of marine ecosystems, exhaustion of fossil resources,
conservation of biodiversity are receiving major attention from the public,
stakeholders and scholars from the local to the planetary scales. It is now
clearly recognized that human activities yield major ecological and environ-
mental stresses with irreversible loss of species, destruction of habitat or cli-
mate catastrophes as the most dramatic examples of their eﬀects.
Island biogeography is an important subject for
several reasons. First, it has been and remains a
field which feeds ideas, theories, models, and tests
of same into ecology, evolutionary biology, and biogeography.
This is because islands provide natural
scientists with model systems—replicated and simplified
contexts—allowing us to isolate particular
factors and processes and to explore their effects.
The nature of environmental challenges has changed considerably in recent decades.
Nonetheless, the global nature of environmental problems has long been known,
as issues such as pollution, loss of biodiversity, global warming, ozone depletion and
tropical deforestation do not respect international borders.
One can argue, however, that it is only in recent years that these problems have
become widespread matters of concern among the general public. The issue of
climate change was at the forefront of the debate on global environmental problems in
The concept of marine reserves has been repeatedly addressed in the past 25
years, but implementation and subsequent evaluation of these protected areas has
been relatively infrequent until the past decade. In recent years, there has been
strong advocacy for reserves among the conservation community and those concerned
about losses of habitat and biodiversity in the sea.