Biodiversity is critically linked to human well-being and life, given that it underpins and is the foundation of ecosystems from which human societies derive essential products for living. These ecosystem "goods and services" typically include essentials such as oxygen, water, food, medicines, flood regulation, coastal protection, and nutrient cycling. However, the unprecedented loss of biodiversity (i.e. species extinction, loss of genetic variation, etc.) is up to 1,000 times more than the "background" or natural rate.
These declines, due to habitat destruction, climate change, pollution, the spread of invasive species and a host of other threats, reveal that the natural world cannot support the pressure that humanity is placing on it.
Because of the close inter-linkages that occur across biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being, there has been great determination among the scientific and policy communities to establish a mechanism to better understand biodiversity and ecosystem services. To that end, a new science platform (the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES) has recently been established.
Our related activities
IPBES is an IPCC-like science-policy platform that seeks to provide a “peer review” of current scientific data to inform decision-makers of the ecological condition of our earth system. |Read more
Satoyama is a Japanese term for traditional rural production landscapes. These traditional landscapes however can be characterized as a mosaic of different ecosystem types— secondary forests, farmlands, irrigation ponds, and grasslands — along with human settlements, which have been managed to produce bundles of ecosystem services for human well-being. |Read more
Prof. Anantha Duraiappah was among the Heads of UN Agencies and International Organizations to address the High Level Meeting on National Drought Policy. His statement, below, focussed on the advancement of well-being in the face of devastating droughts using knowledge gained from the Inclusive Wealth Index.
Chair, Honorable Ministers’, distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, We know that the increased frequency, duration and impact of droughts is here to stay. This has been confirmed by the large amount of excellent scientific evidence presented over the past few days. This trend seems unavoidable! We now need to – as social scientists like to argue – manage the unavoidable.
20 March 2013|Read more
After the successful conclusion of the first IPBES plenary meeting in Bonn, attended by over 500 delegates, IHDP would like to congratulate the newly-elected Chair of the Bureau of IPBES, Prof. H. A. Zakri, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Chairman of the Malaysian Professors’ Council. Prof. Zakri, who has extensive experience in biodiversity governance at the national and international levels, told delegates he was “truly honoured and most humbled to be elected as the first Chair of the Platform”.
4 February 2013 | Read more
This article was featured in the January 2013 issue of Dimensions, "House of Cards: The perilous state of global biodiversity"
Have you ever wondered why it seems like many of the most biologically rich regions of the world are populated by indigenous peoples? Ethnoecologists—or the scientists aiming at understanding the dynamic relations between humans, other species and ecosystems at different temporal and spatial scales—have asked this question. In trying to answer it, they have found that there is, indeed, a strong worldwide overlap in the geographic distribution of biological and cultural diversity. Furthermore, they have also found that this overlap is not due to randomness, but rather it can be explained by a variety of reasons that range from the low population density to the dependence between human culture and the environment.
30 January 2013 | Read more