IBOY: Core Projects
What goods and services does biodiversity provide?
Its Importance to Human Health
- The worlds major medical
and environmental organizations are coming together for the first time
to address the connections between the health of humans and biodiversity
The destruction of tropical
rainforests may foreclose the discovery of medicines from plants. However,
there has been little attempt to cover the full, complex range of consequences
for human health from species loss and ecosystem disruption. To address
this need, the Center for Health
and the Global Environment at the Harvard Medical School organized
a conference at the American Museum of Natural History in 1998, "The
Value of Plants, Animals, and Microbes to Human Health," in collaboration
with the Museum, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the Fogarty
International Center at the US National Institute of Healthy (NIH). As
a result of this conference, the Center, the World
Health Organization (WHO) and UNEP agreed to be partners in an assessment
of "Biodiversity and Human Health," in which leading scientists
and health professionals from around the world will compile 'state of
the art' knowledge about the importance of other species to human health
and produce a report for the United Nations. The assessment will contribute
to the Millennium Assessment and to the deliberations
of the Convention on Biodiversity, so that human health can inform its
In August 1999, an initial
meeting was held at Harvard Medical School and project was officially
launched in December 1999 at WHO headquarters in Geneva, attended by chairs
and co-chairs of its seven working groups, and representatives from the
WHO, UNEP, the World Conservation Union, the World Conservation Monitoring
Center, the World Bank, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and other
During 2001 and 2002 the working
groups will meet and collaborate to synthesize collated information and
write the report. The final report "Biodiversity: Its Importance
to Human Health" will be presented to the United Nations in September
2002, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Four other projects will be developed from the project, including an
executive summary to be distributed to policymakers, a book written for
a public audience (to be published in 2003), a technical report written
for scientists (to published on line in 2003), and a chapter for the report
of the Millennium
Ecosystem Assessment (to be published in 2004).
Recent and upcoming activities:
October 26- 31 2001, Tarrytown, New York , USA - Working meeting of Chapter
Chairs, science writer, publisher and supporting organizations to review
chapter draft and plan details of final book to be published in 2003.
November 12, 2001, Montreal, Canada - Project formally presented to the
plenary session of SBSTTA-7 meetings of the Convention of Biological Diversity,
introducing human health as a cross-cutting issue before the convention.
The WHO, as a result of the project requested that it provide input to
the Convention on the health impacts of biodiversity loss.
September 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa - Report released to the United
Nations at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Chivian, Robert Bos
911: Saving Live on Earth (website)
Biodiversity 911: Saving
Life on Earth is a lively exhibition that will travel to science centers,
natural history museums, children's museums, zoos, and aquariums across
the United States and Canada from 2001 through 2004. This exhibition tells
the important story of biodiversity using science, humor, and creativity.
Developed by World Wildlife Fund and designed by Jeff Kennedy Associates,
Inc., this innovative hands-on exhibition breaks down the complex topic
of biodiversity and its interactions with human society into the visitor
friendly concepts of what biodiversity is, why it is declining, and how
we can help protect it.
The exhibition's centerpiece
is the Biodiversity Theater, an introductory presentation that features
an entertaining film produced by Aardman Animations (the Academy Award-winning
creators of the claymation characters Wallace and Gromit and the feature-length
film Chicken Run). Using engaging dialogue and a creative documentary
format based in a hospital emergency room, a live-action doctor interacts
with animated "patients" to explore biodiversity issues including
habitat loss, pollution, and wildlife trade.
Six interactive exhibit areas,
based on characters from the film, enable visitors to learn more about
biodiversity by exploring exhibits such as a colorful crawl-through coral
reef, a scrolling rain forest tree, and a larger-than-life clump of soil.
In the tree area, visitors can explore the many animals and plants that
live in a native forest and also examine effects of large-scale deforestation
on forest diversity. In the marine diversity area kids can use a computer
interactive to learn about shopping for sustainably harvested fish and
alternative fishing methods that protect sea life. A "Difference
of One" computer kiosk encourages visitors to think about personal
changes they can make to help protect the Earth's incredible diversity-from
a local to global scale. The Wild World mapping kiosk, based on a WWF/National
Geographic partnership, allows visitors to learn about diverse ecoregions
around the world. A music video by the popular environmental singer/songwriter
Billy B. encourages movement and interaction while exposing younger visitors
to some of the key ideas associated with biodiversity.
Two copies of the exhibition
will begin traveling in June 2001. In 2002 the Aardman Animations film,
created as part of the exhibition, will be broadcast worldwide by the
Television Trust for the Environment.
of the wild relatives of the world's crops
The wild relatives of the world's
crops have evolved over a long period of time and have co-evolved with
pests and diseases. They make enormously important contributions to plant
improvement and genetic material from them is essential for the breeding
of new and enhanced cultivars for the world's crops and thereby are essential
for maintaining food security. They are a priority group for conservation,
both in situ and ex situ, and sustainable use.
Information on the identity, distribution, and availability of germplasm
of the wild relatives of the world's crops is both seriously incomplete
and uneven. As part of a project funded by UNEP and GEF entitled 'In
situ Conservation of Wild Relatives through Enhanced Information Management
and Field Application' information on the names, distribution, ecology,
conservation status, and breeding relationships of the wild relatives
of crops in Armenia, Bolivia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan is
being collected. The International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (IPGRI)
is the lead international agency responsible for coordinating this project,
in association with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), DIVERSITAS,
the World Conservation Union-IUCN, and the World Conservation Monitoring
For IBOY, it is hoped that
the database and information system developed under the above project
data on the relatives of wild crops from the five countries can be adapted
to create a global system with inputs from other countries around the
world, collating data that is currently available nationally, regionally,
and from international organizations. Development of such a global database
would help apply the conservation lessons learned from those five countries
to many more countries.
The metabolic diversity of terrestrial ecosystems (website)
FLUXNET is a global network of over 180 sites that is continuously measuring
ecosystem fluxes of CO2, water vapor and energy to provide a measure of
the functional diversity of ecosystems.
The fluxes of carbon dioxide, water vapor and energy, comprised of an
ecosystems metabolism, catabolism and transpiration, can be considered
the 'breathing' of ecosystems and can be measured at timescales from micro-seconds
Over the last decades of the 20th century the Earth's atmosphere and
biosphere have experienced much change. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations
have risen, there is accumulating evidence that the temperatures of the
Earth's surface and atmosphere are rising, and the composition of the
land surface has changed dramatically including urbanization, deforestation
and wetland draining. Linkages between climate and biosphere functioning
are complex and interdependent, but understanding them will be key to
assessing how changes to the biosphere affect the atmosphere and to predicting
future global change. Collecting and analyzing this data will provide
valuable information on the diversity (temporal and spatial variability)
of ecosystem metabolism, including:
- the metabolic patterns
of individual ecosystems
- the differences between
- and how ecosystem metabolism
is controlled by biotic and abiotic factors
FLUXNET is a global network of long-term micrometeorological flux measurement
sites. FLUXNET has several primary functions which focus on measuring
and interpreting the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water vapor and energy
between the biosphere and the atmosphere. At present over 180 sites are
operating on a continuous basis. Vegetation under study includes temperate
conifer and broadleaved forests, tropical and boreal forests, crops, grasslands,
chaparral, wetlands and tundra. Sites exist on five continents and their
latitudinal distributions range from 70 degrees north to 30 degrees south.
FLUXNET has several primary functions. First, it provides infrastructure
for compiling, archiving and distributing carbon, water and energy flux
measurement, meteorological, plant and soil data to the science community.
Second, the project supports calibration and flux inter-comparison activities.
This activity ensures that data from the regional networks are inter-comparable.
And thirdly, FLUXNET supports the synthesis, discussion and communication
of ideas and data by supporting project scientists, workshops and visiting
scientists. The overarching goal is to provide information for validating
computations of net primary productivity, evaporation and energy absorption
that are being generated by sensors mounted on the NASA TERRA satellite.
The studies will provide a measure of functional diversity at the ecosystem
level. Furthermore, since the collective behavior of these diverse ecosystems
is responsible for much more steady and robust global patters such as
atmospheric CO2 concentration, ultimately this project will provide important
information towards understanding biotic controls on global meteorological
and biogeochemical processes.
During 2001 and 2002, FLUXNET will:
- build capacity for analyzing
ecosystem metabolism by establishing infrastructure for guiding, collecting
and disseminating long term measurements of CO2, water, and energy exchange,
and environmental, solid, and plant canopy variables from a dispersed
array of regional flux networks, inter-calibrating flux measure systems
among the networks.
- provide add-on value to
individual research stations and the data they produce by collaborating
to use flux and environmental data acquired within the framework of
FLUXNET to address large-scale questions. For example, to test and validate
ecosystem models and to draw generalizations relating to the control
of carbon and energy fluxes by climate, vegetation, and substrate.
- sponsor international meetings
to synthesize the results from the Long Term Flux Measurement sites.
- develop datasets of long-term
carbon and water fluxes and distribute them to the scientific community
via the www.
- publish the results as
a special issue of the scientific journal Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
and in other scientific publications.
Specific activities and findings
The first FLUXNET findings were published in the Bulletin of the American
Meteorological Society. They included:
- Gross primary productivity
of forests may not be constant but may depend on plant architecture,
photosynthetic capacity and the amount of sunlight absorbed
- Stand age effects carbon
dioxide and water vapor flux densities
- For broadleaved deciduous
forests: unifying controls of carbon exchange may exist including:
- Carbon net ecosystem
exchange strongly depends on length of growing season forests increasing
by about 5.7 g C m-2 day-1 for each additional day that the growing
season is extended
- In temperate regions
carbon exchange is sensitive to perturbations such as droughts and
- Light response curves
for canopy-scale CO2 exchange varies with cloud cover across biomes
since cloud cover alters the quality of the incoming sunlight and
greater levels of diffuse irradiance penetrate deeper levels inside
forest canopies. This may be a crucial finding, as there is emerging
evidence that the global atmosphere is becoming more turbid, and
hence greater levels of diffuse irradiance may be reaching the surface,
with potential for changing light response curves of canopy CO2
- Temperature response
curves for canopy-scale CO2 also exhibit plasticity and the optimal
temperature for CO2 exchange varies with mean summer temperature
and therefore is different for similar forest functional types in
Europe and North America.
- For Coniferous forests:
conclusions are not as unifying: seasonal and annual sums of carbon
sequestration for boreal, semi-arid, temperate and humid conifers differ
among one-another and for different physiological reasons.
For more information see: Baldocchi, D. et al. (2001). FLUXNET:
A New Tool to Study the Temporal and Spatial Variability of Ecosystem-Scale
Carbon Dioxide, Water Vapor, and Energy Flux Densities. Bulletin
of the American Meterological Society 82(11):2415 - 2434
December 13-14, 2001:
Symposium on Water, Energy and Carbon Cycles in Terrestrial Systems:
Local Scale Observations through FLUXNET and other Micrometerological
Tower Sites at the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union,
San Francisco, USA. Included two oral sessions and a poster session.
January 9-11, 2002;
Second International Workshop on Advanced Flux Network and Flux Evaluation.
A workshop convened by AsiaFlux to advance understanding of ecosystem
fluxes in Asia, and launch the Korean Network, KoFlux
June 20-23, 2002:
FLUXNET 2002 Synthesis Workshop was convened in Ovieto, Italy. Approximately
fifty scientists from Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia
- Baldocchi D., E. Falge,
L. H. Gu et al. 2001. FLUXNET: A new tool to study the temporal and
spatial variability of ecosystem-scale carbon dioxide, water vapor,
and energy flux densities. 2001. Bulletin of the American Meteorological
Society. 82: 11: 2415-2434.
- Falge E., D. Baldocchi,
R. Olson, et al. 2001. Gap filling strategies for defensible annual
sums of net ecosystem exchange. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology.
- Falge E., D. Baldocchi,
R. Olson, et al. 2001. Gap filling strategies for long-term energy flux
data-sets. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology. 107(1): 71-77.
- Lianhong Gu, Dennis D. Baldocchi
and R. J. Olson. 2001. FLUXNET Advances Integrated Studies of Terrestrial
Biosphere - Atmosphere Exchanges of Carbon Dioxide, Water and Energy.
Litter Invertebrate Decomposition Experiment (GLIDE) (website)
In 2001 and 2002, international research networks are collaborating
in an unprecedented global survey of litter biodiversity and decomposition
- the Global Litter Invertebrate Decomposition Experiment (GLIDE).
The fauna in the soils and litter (leaves and wood) beneath our feet
is in orders of magnitude greater than the more familiar life above them.
However, this biodiversity is very poorly understood relative to aboveground
biodiversity, in part because of the darkness of the habitats and the
microscopic size of many of the organisms. We do know that these organisms
play a vital role in the removal of waste from the Earth's surface through
decomposition, regulating the rate of decay and the amount and form of
carbon sequestered in the soil. Global patterns of soil and litter biodiversity,
or the significance of the very high belowground biodiversity for rates
of decomposition is not known.
In 2001 and 2002, international research
networks will collaborate in an unprecedented global survey of litter
biodiversity and decomposition
- the Global Litter Invertebrate Decomposition Experiment (GLIDE). The
core questions addressed are:
- are patterns of organism succession involved
in decomposition the same across biomes and latitude even though
the rate of succession varies?
- does the succession of taxa vary with
latitude and decomposition
- are similar taxonomic groups involved in decomposition irrespective
of biomes and latitude?
- at varying latitudes, what are the effects
of excluding animals to the rate of litter decomposition?
Recent and upcoming activities:
August and September 2001 - experimental plots were established at 32
sites across 20 countries. Mesh bags containing a common leaf litter
substrate (grass hay) were placed at the sites.
At several points through
the remainder of 2001 and 2002 the litterbags are being removed, weighed
and the fauna present in them identified at
BioTrack. These analyses will provide information on the rates of decomposition
and the organisms responsible, many of which may be new to science. A
website, explaining the project and the importance of soil biodiversity
to a broad audience, and tracking the progress of the experiment throughout
2001 and 2002, has been created.
February 15, 2002 - The preliminary results
of this first ever global survey of litter biodiversity and decomposition
will be presented by
Project Chair Dr. Diana Wall at a special IBOY symposium “Biodiversity
Science and Global Research: The International Biodiversity Observation
Year” at the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Annual Meeting and Science Innovation Exposition, Boston, Massachusetts,
December 2002 - Chemical analysis was conducted on plant litter from
18 GLIDE sites at Colorado State University to determine the percent
composition of carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen.
Early 2003 – Chemical
analysis on the remaining GLIDE litterbags.
March 2003 – A workshop
at Schloss, Germany to analyze data,providing new information on global
patterns of litter biodiversity and decomposition.
Mid 2003 - the findings
will be published in the scientific literature and on the internet.
- February 4 - 7 2002 - Pulse
of the Planet aired a series of interviews with Project co-chair
Dr. Mark Dangerfield, about GLIDE.
--Diana Wall, David Bignell,
and Mark Dangerfield
Global Terrestrial Observing System-Net Primary Production (website)
GTOS is an international body
coordinating the distribution and centralization of large-scale ecosystem
data, including satellite measurements of vegetation type and extent.
One project of GTOS is developing estimates of net primary productivity,
for every terrestrial km2 (excluding the snow-covered arctic and Antarctic).
These estimates will be derived from MODIS satellite imagery.
For the IBOY, an international
collaborative effort, involving independent research stations, international
research networks and data centers around the world, will compare the
estimates of NPP with species richness data. This analysis will provide
new information on the relationship between biodiversity and an important
ecosystem process at large spatial scales.
During 2000, algorithms to
estimate rates of NPP from the MODIS satellite imagery were developed.
In August 2000, an international workshop was held as part of the International
Long-Term Ecological Research (ILTER) Network meeting in Snowbird Utah,
USA, to identify types and sources of biodiversity data for the analyses.
In spring 2001, the GTOS-NPP demonstration project will start delivering
continuous estimates of NPP, for 8-day phases, for every km2, and this
data will be correlated with species richness data. The project's assessment
of large-scale relationships between biodiversity and NPP will be published
Worlds - an IMAX film on biodiversity and conservation (website)
The producers of the Academy
Award Nominated IMAX film Cosmic Voyage have joined forces
with the American Museum of Natural History to produce Lost Worlds
and an educational support program on biodiversity. From the lost city
of Tikal in Guatemala, through the hidden underground universe that nourishes
New York, to the mysterious mountains of Venezuela that inspired Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle's The Lost World, audiences will experience the amazing
diversity of life on earth, and its profound importance to all of us.
The film will show in approximately 25 IMAX theaters in the USA, Canada,
Japan, Korea, Mexico and Spain. A video and DVD of the film are also available
for sale in several museums and science centers.
- --Bayley Silleck
Ecosystem Assessment (website)
"The Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment is an outstanding example of the sort of international scientific
and political cooperation that is needed to further the cause of sustainable
development. I call on Member States to help provide the necessary financial
support for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and to become actively
engaged in it." (U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi A. Annan. We the
Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century. April 2000).
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
(MA) is the largest ever collaboration of global scientists to assess
the consequences of changes to the worlds ecosystems. As a major
contribution to IBOY, at the end of 2002 it will publish the first ever
methodology on how to assess the capacity of the worlds ecosystems
to continue to produce needed goods and services. The MA was officially
launched on the World Environment Day (June 5) 2001 which had the theme
"The Web of Life." The Secretary General of the United Nations,
Kofi Annan, helped launch the MA at the U.N. Headquarters in New York.
It was also the focus of activities on June 4 in Torino, Italy, on June
6 in Tokyo, Japan, and on June 15 in Beijing, China.
IBOY marked the launch of the
MA by publishing an audio interview with Dr. Walter Reid, Acting Director
of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, on the IBOY Kid's page http://www.nrel.colostate.edu/IBOY/kids/reid.html
Why we need a Millennium
Increasing human populations and consumptive demands, new technologies
and a growing global economy are altering the biological, physical and
chemical features of the Earth. Yet we remain deeply dependant on the
world's natural and managed ecosystems for our own survival. Earth's terrestrial,
freshwater and marine ecosystems meet fundamental human needs for food,
water, fiber and fuel, provide services such as water purification and
pollination of crops and strongly influence human health, economic development
and livelihoods. Ecosystems are both the product of and the home for the
Earth's diversity of living species. For many people, this diversity of
life is also part of their spiritual and cultural heritage.
The growing demands for the
resources of ecosystems can no longer be met by tapping unexploited resources,
and so trade-offs among goods and services have become the rule. For example,
a nation can increase food supply by converting a forest to agriculture,
but in so doing decreases the supply of goods that may be of equal or
greater importance, such as clean water, timber, biodiversity or flood
We need to develop a way to
assess and predict the ability of ecosystems to supply the many needed
goods and services. Over the last decades our technical capacity to support
such assessments has dramatically increased, particularly as a result
of advances in remote sensing to monitor ecosystems, techniques and models
for ecological forecasting and in the field of resource economics. A concerted
effort is needed to bring this emerging science into the mainstream of
decision-making, by increasing awareness of the available tools and the
capacity to use them, and by providing information at the multiple scales
(local to international) that need to be considered.
What is the Millennium Assessment?
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) is a four-year process designed
to improve the management of the world's natural and managed ecosystems
by helping to meet the needs of decision-makers and the public for peer-reviewed,
policy-relevant scientific information on the condition of ecosystems,
future scenarios of ecosystem change and options for response. The MA
will provide information in the short-term, and will build human and institutional
capacity to provide information over the long-term. The Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment process is being modeled along the lines of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change assessments of Climate Change. It will be closely
linked to decision-making bodies, in particular the Convention on Biological
Diversity, Convention on Desertification, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
of International Importance, and National Governments however it is scientifically
independent of these bodies with its findings and conclusions subject
only to a scientific peer-review process
Specifically, the MA will:
- significantly increase understanding
of the linkage between ecosystems and the goods and services they provide
- build human capacity and
the capacity of global, regional, national and local institutions to
undertake integrated ecosystem assessments and act on their findings
- strengthen international
environmental agreements and improve environment-related decisions of
national governments by improving access to the best scientific information
- support ten regional, national
and local integrated assessments that will directly contribute to planning
and capacity building needs
- enhance civil society efforts
to promote sustainable development by enabling ready access to peer-reviewed
data and information
- increase the incentives
and information available to guide change in private sector actions
- develop methodologies to
undertake cross-sectoral assessments and effectively integrate information
- identify important areas
of scientific uncertainty and data gaps that hinder decision-making
and deserve greater research support.
How the Millennium Assessment
is being implemented:
The institutional and organizational elements of the Millennium Assessment
were developed by an international Steering Committee of scientific experts.
Throughout 2001 the actual assessment was designed, with extensive consultations
with user groups and experts. It was formally approved by the Board of
the MA in a meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in January 2002 and a set
of working groups, directed by an Assessment Panel, are now carrying out
the actual assessment:
- Group 1 is developing the
methodology for undertaking the sub-global component of the MA process
and coordinating the various sub-global assessment activities. The support
agency for this group is co-located with the Directors office
at The world Fish Center - ICLARM, in Penang.
- Group 2 is assessing the
Condition of ecosystems. The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre
was selected as the support agency for this group.
- Group 3 is assessing future
Scenarios of ecosystems to deliver needed goods and services. The Scientific
Committee On Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) will be the support
agency for this group; the scenarios work will be performed in association
with the SCOPE project International Program on Ecosystem Change (IPEC).
- Group 4 is identifying Response
Options that could improve the management of ecosystems. The support
agency is co-located with Dr. Kanchan Chopra, WG4 co-chair, at the Institute
for Economic Growth, Delhi.
An advisory group on Outreach
and Engagement engaged various "users" in developing the design
of the MA and will coordinate the dissemination of information throughout
the life of the project. These activities will be supported by a partnership
between the World Resources Institute and the Meridian Institute.
Recognizing that interactions
between ecosystems and societies occur at multiple spatial scales and
are managed by policies and decision-making at many scales, the assessments
are being carried out at both global and sub-global (regional, national
and local) scales. There is an open door policy for incorporating
sub-global assessments that meet the criteria into the MA process and,
for activities that are not funded by regional governments or institutions,
the MA will help identify potential donors and generate financial support.
Sub-global assessments now being designed that are expected to become
components of the MA include:
- Norway National Assessment
- Integrated Assessment for
Western Development of China
- South Africa Focal Region
- Southeast Asia Focal Regional
- Local Assessments in the
Mala Village Cluster in India
- Local Assessments in Sweden
The result of the design process for the MA will be the first ever methodology
for how to assess the capacity of the world's ecosystems to continue to
provide goods and services needed by society. This methodology will be
published as a stand-alone volume in mid-2002 and will be a major contribution
to the IBOY.
The MA will be completed in
2005, and ideally will be repeated every 5-10 years to facilitate monitoring
of ecosystem changes, progress in response to those changes and to incorporate
Recent and Upcoming MA Meetings
Africa Regional Assessment Planning meeting, Pretoria South Africa
Asia Regional Assessment Planning Meeting, Chaing Mai, Thailand
meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity SBSTTA, Montreal
Canada (Includes plenary presentation on MA, Monday March 12)
Europe Regional Assessment Planning meeting, Potsdam Institute, Germany
MA Technical Design Meeting, RIVM, The Netherlands
Launch of the MA
Technical Design Workshop including workshop on Remote Sensing
and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Cape Town, South Africa
SBSTTA, Montreal (Plenary presentation November 12 and side-event
|| Second MA
Board Meeting, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Board reviewed the design
and methodology of the MA that, over the previous year, has been developed
by the Assessment Panel in consultation with the various user groups.
This marks the transition to the next stage of the assessment when
MAs working groups will start assessment activities and convening
|April 29 -
- First Meeting of the Condition and Trends Working Group
- Data and Indicators Workshop
|May 27 - 31
- First Meeting of the Response Options Working Group
|May 27 - June
- Millennium Assessment side event at Prepcom IV for the World Summit
on Sustainable Development
|June 10 -
Tropical Research Institute, Panama - First Meeting of the Sub-Global
Assessments Working Group
at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South
Africa - The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: Ecosystems and Human
Two activities during in the
development stage of the MA are now in outreach phases and are helping
raise awareness of the importance of ecosystem goods and services and
the need for a MA.
- The Pilot Analysis of
Global Ecosystems. Five PAGE Technical Reports are available (see
- September 2000 - World Resources
2000 -2001. People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life, a joint
publication of UNEP, UNDP, World Bank, and World Resources Institute
was released at the opening of the Bergen Ministerial Meeting of 25
- April 2000 - Time Magazine
featured the findings of PAGE and World Resources in its 'Earth Day'
Special Issue (see below).
- July 19, 2001 - The MA was
highlighted in a television documentary Earth on Edge presented by Bill
Moyers, broadcast by PBS in association with CNN in the USA.
- February 15, 2002 - The
design of the methodology and preliminary results of the millennium
Ecosystem Assessment will be presented by Dr. Walter Reid a special
IBOY symposium Biodiversity Science and Global Research: The International
Biodiversity Observation Year at the American Association for
the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting and Science Innovation Exposition,
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
- Ayensu, E., et al. 1999.
International ecosystem assessment. Science 286: 685-686.
- Ayensu, E., et al. 2000.
Biosphere management: Some tools of the trade - Response. Science
- Reid, W. V. 2000. Ecosystem
data to guide hard choices. Issues in Science and Technology 16:
Resources 2000 2001. People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of
Analysis of Global Ecosystems
- Gadgil M. et al. 2000. Participatory
Local Level Assessment of Life Support systems: A Methodology Manual.
Technical Report No. 78, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
Linden, "Condition Critical" Time Magazine Special Edition,
- Biodiversity Series: Information for Educators and Communicators (website)
The poor, especially those
in developing countries and rural areas, are disproportionately affected
by worsening environmental conditions, including biodiversity loss. Environmental
degradation threatens natural resources such as soil, water and fisheries,
upon which they depend for subsistence and income. One of the greatest
challenges that education providers in the developing world face is gaining
access to appropriate learning materials that focus on real-life issues
that help youth develop practical problem solving skills, and that provide
students with the knowledge base which can equip them to deal with environmental
and health realities.
Helping education providers meet this challenge is the purpose of OUTREACH.
OUTREACH is a project of the Television Trust for the Environment, which
was established in 1984 by UNEP, WWF and Central Television.
In the Biodiversity series,
three educational packs on Genetic Diversity and Food Crops have already
been produced in English. OUTREACH Issue Pack: Genetic Diversity and
Food Crops, covers topics such as farmers' contributions to crop diversity,
scientific breeding methods, and the impact of new biotechnologies upon
crop diversity. Activity Guides for schools and youth groups explore genetics,
genetic diversity, local crop diversity, and introduce students to issues
related to biotechnology and biodiversity. In OUTREACH Solution
pack: Preserving Genetic Diversity of Crop Plants students learn how
to select and save seeds and other practical techniques for preserving
the genetic diversity of local crop plants. Activities in OUTREACH
Solution pack: Breeding Your Own Crops invite students to learn more
sophisticated breeding methods, such as hybrid crosses in order to make
new varieties. Students are also encouraged to consider cultivating wild
These three packs have been
distributed throughout the OUTREACH Network. The Network includes newspaper
journalists, radio broadcasters, community workers, representatives from
NGOs, teacher trainers, curriculum developers and others (but not individual
teachers) who are involved in educating children in low- and middle-income
countries about environmental and health issues.
Activities in 2001 - 2002:
October 2001 - Launch of the OUTREACH website, featuring an on-line kids
magazine on environmental and health issues Youth Take Action.
The theme of the first issue of the magazine is soils. The first OUTREACH
packs for educators and communicators, on Genetic Diversity and Food Crops,
are downloadable from the website.
September 2002 - Outreach has been commissioned to produce eight OUTREACH
packs in time for the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg,
September 2002 - Four issue packs will cover the basic concepts that need
to be understood in order to analyze issues related to soil erosion, land
degradation, forests and climate change. These packs will help youth explore
and understand the relevance of these issues to their local communities.
Complementing these issue packs will be four solution packs which will
comprise hands-on activities, radio scripts, stories, puzzles and games.
OUTREACH education packs are available free-of-charge to people in the
OUTREACH Network. If you are involved in educating youth in developing
countries about health and environmental issues, and would like to apply
to join the Network, please write to: TVE USA, PO Box 820, Shelburne,
VT 05482, USA. Please state briefly how you would use the educational
materials. (This free service is not available to individual class teachers.)
The set of three packs on Genetic
Diversity and Food Crops (totaling 204 pp.) is also available for purchase
from TVE USA at a price of US$20.00 plus postage and handling ($7.00 surface,
$13.00 airmail). To order sets, write to TVE USA with your name, address
and the number of sets you request. For orders within the United States,
please enclose a check in U.S. dollars (drawn on a U.S. bank) and made
payable to OUTREACH/TVE USA. For orders from outside the United States,
please enclose a bank draft drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. dollars, and
made payable to OUTREACH/TVE USA.
- Gillian Dorfman and Sharon
Kahkonen. James V. Connor, ed. 2000. Biodiversity Series: OUTREACH Issue
pack: Genetic Diversity and Food Crops. Published by OUTREACH/TVE USA
in association with WWF-UK.
- Gillian Dorfman and Sharon
Kahkonen. James V. Connor, ed. 2000. Biodiversity Series: OUTREACH Solution
pack: Preserving Genetic Diversity of Crop Plants. Published by OUTREACH/TVE
USA in association with WWF-UK.
- Gillian Dorfman and Sharon
Kahkonen. James V. Connor, ed. 2000. Biodiversity Series: OUTREACH Solution
pack: Breeding Your Own Crops. Published by OUTREACH/TVE USA in association
If you are interested in providing
financial support for OUTREACH's biodiversity program during IBOY, please
contact the OUTREACH Director, Dr. James Connor, at TVE USA (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
for further information.
sample Issue and Solution Pack (.pdf)
- --James Connor