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    Review of 'Research priorities for maintaining biodiversity’s contributions to people in Latin America'

    Research priorities for maintaining biodiversity’s contributions to people in Latin AmericaCrossref
    In search of a regional research agendas on biodiversity
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    Research priorities for maintaining biodiversity’s contributions to people in Latin America

    Maintaining biodiversity is crucial for ensuring human well-being. We participated in a workshop held in Palenque, Mexico, in August 2018, that brought together thirty mostly early-career scientists working in different disciplines (natural, social and economic sciences) with the aim of identifying research priorities for studying the contributions of biodiversity to people and how these contributions might be impacted by environmental change. Five main groups of questions emerged: (1) Enhancing the quantity, quality, and availability of biodiversity data; (2) Integrating different knowledge systems; (3) Improved methods for integrating diverse data; (4) Fundamental questions in ecology and evolution; and (5) Multi-level governance across boundaries. We discuss the need for increased capacity building and investment in research programs to address these challenges.

      Review information

      This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com.

      Earth & Environmental sciences,Environmental change,Ecology,General environmental science,Life sciences
      Investment in research,Capacity building,Ecosystem services,Environmental science,Knowledge systems,Environmental change,Biodiversity,Conservation,People and their environment,Data availability,Governance

      Review text

      Nature's contributions to people (NCP) have been proposed as a central concept to articulate global policy around the interactions between ecosystems and biodiversity and the diversity of human communities.

      The development of a comprehensive regional research agenda on NCP requires broad discussions and contributions from several perspectives. This contribution from Pearson et al. summarizes the results of a workshop held in Mexico by a group of early-career scientists from Latin America and the United Kingdom.

      The authors identify five main groups of research questions regarding NCP (specifically biodiversity contributions to people) in the region. Three of these Research Questions are related to the advancement and improvement of ecological research per se (RQ1: quality of biodiversity data; RQ3: methods for integrating data; and RQ4: ecological hypothesis and paradigms); while the other two have a broader scope (RQ2: Integrating different knowledge systems; and RQ5: Multi-level governance across boundaries).

      The list of questions presented in the table provides an overview of the themes and topics that are specially relevant for young researchers in the region. However, the manuscript does not deliver an in-depth discussion on how they are related or how can they be articulated with more complex issues regarding environment and nature policy in the region.

      Sharing these ideas is an important first step, but future contributions need to include more illustrative and constructive approaches to build comprehensive pathways that link basic and applied research to real environmental and social impact.  


      We thank the reviewer for carefully reading our manuscript and for constructive comments. We acknowledge that our manuscript does not deliver in-depth discussion of the diverse and complex issues raised; instead, our goal in this short article is to provide a consensus summary of the research priorities that were discussed at our workshop. We hope that our article will spur further, more in-depth analyses by members of our workshop and the broader community, and we have added an additional statement to this effect at the end of the second paragraph of our revised manuscript (sentence in red). We have also added an important new citation to the recently published IPBES Global Assessment (also in red). We are pleased that the reviewer recognizes our sharing of these ideas as being an important first step and we look forward to vital future research in this area.

      2019-06-13 12:32 UTC

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