Supplementary material from "Biodiversity in the Anthropocene: prospects and policy"

Published on 2016-11-29T14:09:18Z (GMT) by
Balancing the ever-increasing needs of the Earth's human population with the maintenance of the biological diversity that ultimately supplies those needs is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. The scale of this challenge has led to suggestions that a new approach to biodiversity conservation is needed. One idea rapidly gaining momentum—as well as opposition—is to incorporate the value of biodiversity into decision-making using economic methods. Here, we develop several lines of argument for how biodiversity might be valued, building on recent developments in natural science, economics and science-policy processes. Then we provide a synoptic guide to the papers in this special feature, highlighting research advances relevant to biodiversity valuation. We conclude that more biodiverse systems are more productive, stable and resilient, and that by maximizing species, functional and phylogenetic diversity we maximize an ecosystem's value over the long term. More research is needed to clarify links between biodiversity and value. However, we argue that the functions, services and values arising from biodiversity are interdependent, and that economic valuation approaches to biodiversity conservation should account for this interdependency and complement rather than replace traditional approaches. We stress that effective policy and practice around maintaining biodiversity demands a genuinely interdisciplinary approach. With this in mind, we present a framework for understanding the foundational role of ‘biodiversity services’ in sustaining the value of ecosystems to humanity. We use this framework to highlight new directions for pure and applied research.

Cite this collection

Seddon, Nathalie; M. Mace, Georgina; Naeem, Shahid; A. Tobias, Joseph; L. Pigot, Alex; Cavanagh, Rachel; Mouillot, David; Vause, James; Walpole, Matt (2016): Supplementary material from "Biodiversity in the Anthropocene: prospects and policy". The Royal Society.

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