Ecosystems And Human Well-Being: Synthesis

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-05-22
  • Publisher: Island Pr
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Ecosystems and Human Well-Beingis the first product of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a four-year international work program designed to meet the needs of decisionmakers for scientific information on the links between ecosystem change and human well-being. The book offers an overview of the project, describing the conceptual framework that is being used, defining its scope, and providing a baseline of understanding that all participants need to move forward.The Millennium Assessment focuses on how humans have altered ecosystems, and how changes in ecosystem services have affected human well-being, how ecosystem changes may affect people in future decades, and what types of responses can be adopted at local, national, or global scales to improve ecosystem management and thereby contribute to human well-being and poverty alleviation. The program was launched by United National Secretary-General Kofi Annan in June 2001, and the primary assessment reports will be released by Island Press in 2005. Leading scientists from more than 100 nations are conducting the assessment, which can aid countries, regions, or companies by: providing a clear, scientific picture of the current state of Earth's ecosystems at multiple scales deepening our understanding of the relationship and linkages between ecosystems and human well-being, including economic, social and cultural aspirations demonstrating the potential of ecosystems to contribute to poverty reduction and enhanced well-being offering scenarios of our future human and ecological well-being identifying and evaluating policy and management options for sustaining ecosystem services and harmonizing them with human needsThe Millennium Assessmentis an invaluable new resource for professionals and policymakers concerned with international development, environmental science, environmental policy, and related fields. It will help both in choosing among existing options and in identifying new approaches for achieving integrated management of land, water, and living resources while strengthening regional, national, and local capacities. It will also improve policy and decisionmaking at all levels through improved collaboration between natural and social scientists, and between scientists and policymakers. Ecosystems and Human Well-Beingis an essential introduction to the project.

Table of Contents

Foreword ii
Preface v
Reader's Guide x
Summary for Decision-makers
Finding 1: Ecosystem Change in Last 50 Years
Finding 2: Gains and Losses from Ecosystem Change
Finding 3: Ecosystem Prospects for Next 50 Years
Finding 4: Reversing Ecosystem Degradation
Key Questions in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
How have ecosystems changed?
How have ecosystem services and their uses changed?
How have ecosystem changes affected human well-being and poverty alleviation?
What are the most critical factors causing ecosystem changes?
How might ecosystems and their services change in the future under various plausible scenarios?
What can be learned about the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being at sub-global scales?
What is known about time scales, inertia, and the risk of nonlinear changes in ecosystems?
What options exist to manage ecosystems sustainably?
What are the most important uncertainties hindering decision-making concerning ecosystems?
Appendix A. Ecosystem Service Reports 103(20)
Appendix B. Effectiveness of Assessed Responses 123(9)
Appendix C. Authors, Coordinators, and Review Editors 132(4)
Appendix D. Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Figure Sources 136(1)
Appendix E. Assessment Report Table of Contents 137

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