sUrBio2050 – Assessing globally important areas for biodiversity preservation and human well-being

1st meeting : 04. - 07.09.2018

PIs: Thomas Elmqvist, Henrique Pereira, Rob McDonald
associated postdoc: Andressa Vianna Mansur

​​Natural​ ​systems​ ​play​ ​a​ ​crucial​ ​role​ ​in​ ​maintaining​ ​the​ ​diversity​ ​of​ ​life​ ​on​ ​Earth as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​an​ ​integral​ ​role​ ​in​ ​human​ ​well-being.​ ​Urban​ ​areas​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​grow​ ​at​ ​an unprecedented​ ​rate,​ ​and​ ​by​ ​2050,​ ​70​ ​per​ ​cent​ ​of​ ​the​ ​world’s​ ​population​ ​will​ ​be​ ​urban.​ ​If unplanned,​ ​this​ ​rapid​ ​urban​ ​growth​ ​can​ ​deeply degrade​ ​natural​ ​systems,​ ​imperiling​ ​globally-significant biodiversity​, ecosystem services, ​and​ ​decreasing​ ​human​ ​well-being.​ ​Yet,​ ​natural​ ​systems​ ​are​ ​often​ ​not​ ​fully​ ​integrated into​ ​sustainable​ ​urban​ ​design​ ​and​ ​planning​ ​efforts,​ ​nor​ ​into​ ​the​ ​decisions​ ​of​ ​national​ ​and international​ ​policymakers.   If​ ​we​ ​do​ ​not adequately​ ​plan​ ​for​ ​urban​ ​growth​ ​in​ ​places​ ​of​ ​globally-significant​ ​biodiversity,​ ​the world​ ​may​ ​fail​ ​to​ ​meet​ ​its​ ​ambitious​ ​targets​ ​under​ ​the​ ​Convention​ ​on​ ​Biological​ ​Diversity.​ In addition, ​And without​ ​considering​ ​the​ ​important​ ​role​ ​natural​ ​systems​ ​play​ ​for​ ​human​ ​well-being,​ ​the international​ ​community​ ​may​ ​fail​ ​to​ ​meet​ ​its​ ​targets​ ​under​ ​UNFCCC​ ​(such​ ​as​ ​goals​ ​for​ ​climate change​ ​adaptation),​ ​the​ ​Sustainable​ ​Development​ ​Goals,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​New​ ​Urban​ ​Agenda.
While​ ​there​ ​have​ ​been​ ​pioneering​ ​projects​ ​detailing​ ​the​ ​importance​ ​of​ ​drawing​ ​linkages​ ​between growth​ ​in​ ​cities​ ​and​ ​natural​ ​systems,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​a​ ​global​ ​and​ ​coordinated​ ​assessment​ ​of where​ ​natural​ ​systems​ ​are​ ​crucially​ ​important​ ​to​ ​protecting​ ​globally​ ​significant​ ​biodiversity​ ​or provisionding​ ​for​ ​human​ ​well-being. ​​To​ ​close​ ​this​ ​knowledge​ ​gap,​ ​Future​ ​Earth,​ ​The​ ​Nature​ ​Conservancy​ ​(TNC), and​ ​Stockholm​ ​Resilience​ ​Center​ ​(SRC),​ ​along​ ​with​ ​the​ ​Secretariat​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Convention​ ​on Biological​ ​Diversity​ ​(SCBD),​ ​SwedBio,​ and the ​International​ ​Council​ ​for​ ​Local​ ​Environmental Initiatives​ ​(ICLEI)​ ​and​ ​others,​ ​are​ ​leading​ ​an​ ​ambitious​ ​scientific​ ​assessment​ ​entitled,​ ​“Nature​ ​in the​ ​Urban​ ​Century:​ ​Global​ ​important​ ​areas​ ​for​ ​biodiversity​ ​preservation​ ​and​ ​human​ ​well-being”. Drawing​ ​on​ ​existing​ ​research,​ ​the​ ​assessment​ ​will​ ​develop​ ​and​ ​map​ ​a​ ​set​ ​of​ ​integrated​ ​indicators to​ ​guide​ ​international​, ​and​ ​national​ and local ​decision-makers​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​protecting​ ​biodiversity​ ​or​ ​human well-being as well as planning for sustainable urban development.​  Conceptually,​ ​the​ ​assessment​ ​will​ ​focus​ ​on​ ​three​ ​categories​ ​of​ ​urban​ ​impact​ ​on natural​ ​systems,​ ​each​ ​chosen​ ​to​ ​be​ ​relevant​ ​to​ ​international​ ​policy​ ​targets.
1. Natural​ ​system​ ​loss:​ ​Urban​ ​growth​ ​has​ ​direct​ ​impacts​ ​on​ ​periurban​ ​environments,​ ​as natural​ ​systems​ ​are​ ​converted​ ​to​ ​developed​ ​land​ ​uses.​ ​We​ ​will​ ​assess​ ​where​ ​natural system​ ​loss​ ​may​ ​cause:: a. Globally​ ​significant​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​biodiversity, and b. Decrease​ ​in​ ​human​ ​well-being​ ​or​ ​an​ ​increase​ ​in​ ​vulnerability​ ​to​ ​climate​ ​change and​ ​other​ ​risks.
2. Impacts​ ​on​ ​protected​ ​areas:​ ​Urban​ ​growth​ ​will​ ​surround​ ​many​ ​protected​ ​areas,​ ​potentially degrading​ ​many​ ​of​ ​their​ ​ecological​ ​functions.​ ​We​ ​will​ ​assess​ ​how​ ​increases​ ​in​ ​proximity between​ ​urban​ ​and​ ​protected​ ​areas​ ​will​ ​impact​ ​the​ ​world’s​ ​protected​ ​area​ ​system.
3. Indirect​ ​impact:​ ​Cities​ ​affect​ ​much​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Earth’s​ ​surface,​ ​through​ ​cities’​ ​“teleconnections”​ ​with the​ ​broader​ ​world​.​ ​We​ ​will​ ​assess​ ​the​ ​most​ ​important​ ​of​ ​these​ ​teleconnections,​ ​particularly focusing​ ​on​ ​natural​ ​resource​ ​and​ ​energy​ ​consumption​ ​in​ ​cities​ ​and​ ​how​ ​they​ ​affect​ ​the environment​ ​around​ ​the​ ​globe.
Using​ ​scores​ ​on​ ​the​ ​indicators​ ​for​ ​these​ ​three​ ​categories,​ ​we​ ​will​ ​identify​ ​sets​ ​of​ ​at-risk​ ​cities where​ ​urban​ ​expansion​ ​will​ ​significantly​ ​impact​ ​essential​ ​ecosystems​ ​and​ ​biodiversity​ ​will​ ​be identified.

Participants:
Fernando Ascensão (InBIO - Rede de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Biologia Evolutiva); M'Lisa Colbert (Future Earth); Katie Crossman (The Nature Conservancy); Andrew Gonzalez (McGill University); Burak Guneralp (Texas A&M University); Dagmar Haase (HU Berlin and UFZ Leipzig); Maike Hamann (University of Minnesota); Oliver Hillel (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity); Kangning Huang (Yale University); David Maddox (The Nature of Cities); Robert McDonald (The Nature Conservancy); Henrique Pereira (MLU Halle-Wittenberg); Rohan Simkin (Yale University); Andressa Vianna Mansur (University of Cádiz); Brenna Walsh (Future Earth); Carly Ziter (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Download meeting summary


2nd meeting: 30.09. - 02.10.2019

Participants:
Corey Callaghan (Centre for Ecosystem Science, UNSW Sydney) ; Thomas Elmqvist (Stockholm Resilience Center) ; Alessandro Gentile (iDiv) ; Burak Guneralp (Texas A&M University); Dagmar Haase (HU Berlin and UFZ Leipzig) ; Perrine Hamel (Natural Capital Project Stansford) ; HyeJin Kim (iDiv) ; Jan Kuiper (Stockholm Resilience Center) ; Veronika Liebelt (iDiv) ; Ines Martins (iDiv) ; Robert McDonald (The Nature Conservancy) ; Henrique Pereira (MLU Halle-Wittenberg) ; Jose Puppim de Oliveira (Fundação Getulio Vargas São Paulo) ; Rohan Simkin (Yale University); Andressa Vianna Mansur (iDiv); Manuel Wolff (HU Berlin)

Download meeting summary

Publication:

McDonald, R.I., Mansur, A.V., Ascensão, F. et al. (2019) Research gaps in knowledge of the impact of urban growth on biodiversity. Nature Sustainability. See here.

McDonald, R., et al. (2018). Nature in the Urban Century: A global assessment of where and how to conserve nature for biodiversity and human wellbeing. Washington, DC, The Nature Conservancy. See here.

Share this site on:
iDiv is a research centre of theDFG Logo
toTop