Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere

Flagship Report 1999
German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU)

Earthscan, London


 

'A thorough, interdisciplinary view of the biosphere, covering both science and policy, which should be required reading for all decision-makers, specialists and students concerned with global sustainability issues. It will open their eyes to a fresh, holistic approach and will help them understand the interconnected processes taking place in the biosphere. The book is a landmark study which will be a valued reference and source of information for many years to come.'
Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director, UNEP

Biodiversity - the planet's natural capital - is undergoing a dramatic collapse: its 'Sixth Extinction'. The losses, which are due to human activities and overexploitation of the biosphere, are irreversible. They are undermining the basis of future wellbeing and prosperity - including genetic resources and food production, climate stability, and coastal and soil protection. This volume presents an authoritative and alarming analysis of the state of the biosphere. In it, the scientists of the German Advisory Council on Global Change show that the time remaining for remedial action is fast disappearing and they set out a range of initiatives to be undertaken at different levels. Among their main urgent recommendations are:

protecting 10-20 per cent of the global land area
an 'Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity' to provide scientific advice
conservation of the diversity of cultivated as well as wild plant species
extending bioregional management and nature sponsorship
greater multilateral co-operation and implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The volume makes a highly significant contribution to the scientific and policy debates on these critical issues. It will be essential reading for those engaged with them.