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Climate change threatens New Guinea’s biocultural heritage

New Guinea is the most biologically and linguistically diverse tropical island on Earth, yet the potential impacts of climate change on its biocultural heritage remain unknown. Analyzing 2353 endemic plant species distributions, we find that 63% of species are expected to have smaller geographic ranges by 2070. As a result, ecoregions may have an average of −70 ± 40 fewer species by 2070.

The commonness of rarity: Global and future distribution of rarity across land plants

A key feature of life’s diversity is that some species are common but many more are rare. Nonetheless, at global scales, we do not know what fraction of biodiversity consists of rare species. Here, we present the largest compilation of global plant diversity to quantify the fraction of Earth’s plant biodiversity that are rare. A large fraction, ~36.5% of Earth’s ~435,000 plant species, are exceedingly rare. Sampling biases and prominent models, such as neutral theory and the k-niche model, cannot account for the observed prevalence of rarity.

French Polynesia Global Coral Reef - Final Report

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has released their findings from the largest coral reef survey and mapping expedition ever conducted in French Polynesia. The Global Reef Expedition: French Polynesia Final Report provides a comprehensive summary of the research findings from the 5-year expedition, an assessment of the health and resiliency of French Polynesia’s coral reefs, and recommendations for preserving French Polynesia’s coral reefs into the future.

Coastal proximity of populations in 22 Pacific Island Countries and Territories

The coastal zones of Small Island States are hotspots of human habitation and economic endeavour. In the Pacific region, as elsewhere, there are large gaps in understandings of the exposure and vulnerability of people in coastal zones. The 22 Pacific Countries and Territories (PICTs) are poorly represented in global analyses of vulnerability to seaward risks. We combine several data sources to estimate populations to zones 1, 5 and 10 km from the coastline in each of the PICTs. Regional patterns in the proximity of Pacific people to the coast are dominated by Papua New Guinea. Overall, ca.

Economic value of protected areas via visitor mental health

We evaluate methods to calculate the economic value of protected areas derived from the improved mental health of visitors. A conservative global estimate using quality-adjusted life years, a standard measure in health economics, is US$6 trillion p.a. This is an order of magnitude greater than the global value of protected area tourism, and two to three orders greater than global aggregate protected area management agency budgets.

In Pursuit of Knowledge: Addressing Barriers to Effective Conservation Evaluation

Evaluation, the process of assessing the effectiveness of programs and activities, has gained increasing attention in the conservation sector as programs seek to account for investments, measure their impacts, and adapt interventions to improve future outcomes. We conducted a country-wide evaluation of terrestrial-based conservation programs in Samoa. Though rarely applied, the benefit of evaluating multiple projects at once is that it highlights factors which are persistent and influential across the entire conservation sector.

A global-level assessment of the effectiveness of protected areas at resisting anthropogenic pressures

One-sixth of the global terrestrial surface now falls within protected areas (PAs), making it essential to understand how far they mitigate the increasing pressures on nature which characterize the Anthropocene. In by far the largest analysis of this question to date and not restricted to forested PAs, we compiled data from 12,315 PAs across 152 countries to investigate their ability to reduce human pressure and how this varies with socioeconomic and management circumstances.

Remote Sensing and Modeling of Coral Reef Resilience

A new paradigm has emerged for management of coral reefs in an era of changing climate – managing for resilience. A fundamental need for such management to be effective is our ability to measure and map coral reef resilience. We review the resilience concept and factors that may make a coral reef more or less resilient to climate-driven impacts, and focus on recent advances in a trio of technologies – remote sensing, spatial distribution modeling, and ecosystem simulation – that promise to improve our ability to quantify coral reef resilience across reefs.

Global modeling of nature’s contributions to people

The magnitude and pace of global change demand rapid assessment of nature and its contributions to people. We present a fine-scale global modeling of current status and future scenarios for several contributions: water quality regulation, coastal risk reduction, and crop pollination. We find that where people’s needs for nature are now greatest, nature’s ability to meet those needs is declining. Up to 5 billion people face higher water pollution and insufficient pollination for nutrition under future scenarios of land use and climate change, particularly in Africa and South Asia.

How much of a market is involved in a biodiversity offset? A typology of biodiversity offset policies

Biodiversity offsets (BO) are increasingly promoted and adopted by governments and companies worldwide as a policy instrument to compensate for biodiversity losses from infrastructure development projects. To provide a framing for understanding the empirical diversity of BO policy designs, we present an ideal-typical typology based on the institutions from which BO is organised: Public Agency, Mandatory Market and Voluntary Offset.