Scenarios of Future Biodiversity

Causes, Patterns, and Consequences

Principal Investigator(s): 

F. Stuart Chapin, Osvaldo E. Sala

This Working Group participated in a workshop that consisted of a four-day meeting in which they discussed and refined scenarios of biodiversity change that was prepared in advance by the individual participants. Each participant supplied summaries of current published Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios of changes in climate, atmospheric composition, and land use for the next century. These scenarios included best-case, worst-case, and business-as-usual scenarios. Maps of natural vegetation composition under current climate and vegetation that is projected to be in equilibrium with a 2X CO2 world was also supplied. This information was sent to participants prior to the workshop meeting. At the meeting, active discussion about pitfalls and insights into how these scenarios can be made as credible as possible took place. Each participant provided a written chapter following the meeting.

There was two major sections to the workshop, and the final product produced:

  1. A summary of the major drivers of changes in biodiversity
  2. A biome-by-biome analysis of the probable changes in biodiversity
  3. Consequences for ecosystem functioning

In dealing with consequences, participants were encouraged to consider both ecological consequences for functioning of natural communities and economic and social consequences for human society. Detailed outlines of each chapter was available to exchange among participants at the meeting. Final chapters were completed by 1 October 1996.

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