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

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      UCL Open Environment

      UCL Press

      ecosystem services, environmental change, capacity building, investment in research, data availability, knowledge systems, governance

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          Maintaining biodiversity is crucial for ensuring human well-being. The authors participated in a workshop held in Palenque, Mexico, in August 2018, that brought together 30 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 programmes to address these challenges.

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          Most cited references 12

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          Synergies among extinction drivers under global change.

          If habitat destruction or overexploitation of populations is severe, species loss can occur directly and abruptly. Yet the final descent to extinction is often driven by synergistic processes (amplifying feedbacks) that can be disconnected from the original cause of decline. We review recent observational, experimental and meta-analytic work which together show that owing to interacting and self-reinforcing processes, estimates of extinction risk for most species are more severe than previously recognised. As such, conservation actions which only target single-threat drivers risk being inadequate because of the cascading effects caused by unmanaged synergies. Future work should focus on how climate change will interact with and accelerate ongoing threats to biodiversity, such as habitat degradation, overexploitation and invasive species.
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            PanTHERIA: a species-level database of life history, ecology, and geography of extant and recently extinct mammals

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              Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity.

              The most unique feature of Earth is the existence of life, and the most extraordinary feature of life is its diversity. Approximately 9 million types of plants, animals, protists and fungi inhabit the Earth. So, too, do 7 billion people. Two decades ago, at the first Earth Summit, the vast majority of the world's nations declared that human actions were dismantling the Earth's ecosystems, eliminating genes, species and biological traits at an alarming rate. This observation led to the question of how such loss of biological diversity will alter the functioning of ecosystems and their ability to provide society with the goods and services needed to prosper.

                Author and article information

                UCL Open Environment
                UCL Press (UK )
                08 August 2019
                : 1
                : 1-4
                Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, UK
                Departamento de Zoología, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México, Mexico
                Centro del Cambio Global y la Sustentabilidad AC, Villahermosa, Mexico
                Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (IMBIV), Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (UNC), CONICET, Córdoba, Argentina
                Procesos y Sistemas de Información en Geomática, SA de CV. Calle 5 Viveros de Peten No. 18, Col. Viveros del Valle, Tlalnepantla, CP 54060, Edo. de Mex, Mexico
                Land, Environment, Economics and Policy Institute, University of Exeter Business School, Xfi Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, UK
                Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Casilla 653, Santiago, Chile
                Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
                Instituto de Diversidad y Ecología Animal (IDEA), Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Córdoba, Argentina
                Instituto de Ecología, A.C. Carretera antigua a Coatepec 351, Col. El Haya, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
                Department of Geography, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Munich, Germany
                Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano, Escuela de Geografía, Condell 343, Providencia. Santiago, Chile
                International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Schloßpl. 1, Laxenburg, 2361, Vienna, Austria
                Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London, London, UK; Current address: Global Water Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
                Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
                Laboratorio de Estudios del Antropoceno, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad de Concepción, Chile
                Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme, Research Centre for Ecological Change, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
                Departamento de Biología Evolutiva, Facultad de Ciencias, Museo de Zoología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México City, Mexico
                Centro de Estudios e Investigación en Desarrollo Sustentable, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Toluca, Mexico
                Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
                Department of Biology, University of York, York, UK
                Instituto de Conservación, Biodiversidad y Territorio, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y Recursos Naturales, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile
                Centro de Ciencia del Clima y la Resiliencia, Facultad de Ciencias Físicas y Matemáticas, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
                NASCA Conservation Program, The Nature Conservancy, Bogotá, Colombia
                Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal, CONICET and Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
                Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
                Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad (IEB), Laboratorio Internacional en Cambio Global (LINCGlobal), Centro de Cambio Global UC (PUCGlobal), The Santa Fe Institute, and Centro de Ciencias de la Complejidad (C3), Universidad Autónoma de México, Mexico
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Richard G. Pearson, Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, London, UK; Email: richard.pearson@
                Copyright © 2019 The Authors.

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Tables: 1, References: 12, Pages: 4
                Research Article


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