Biodiversity and ecosystem services are complex and the interactions between them and development processes are more complex still. With many diverse and conflicting demands on land and natural resources, understanding the likely impacts of current policy decisions on biodiversity is both crucial and challenging. Climate change adds to the complexity of this task.
We explore how change is likely to affect ecosystem services and biodiversity by drawing on our skills in modelling ecosystem interactions and mapping spatial data.
As part of two projects funded by the MacArthur Foundation, we identified current and future trade-offs between the demand for commodities and biodiversity in the Andes, the Greater Mekong and Great Lakes of Africa regions.
The projects modelled current and plausible future land use change to find watersheds that are key for biodiversity and future provision of commodities, and are therefore likely to come under pressure in each region.
The projects integrated this into scenario-guided policy review processes in different countries. This strengthens land-use related policy relating to current and likely future impacts of agricultural development on ecosystems, and makes it more robust in the face of future uncertainty.