Present address: IWEPS – Institut Wallon de l'Evaluation, de la Prospective et de la Statistique, Rue Fort de Suarlée, 1, B-5001 Namur, Belgium.
Scenarios for investigating risks to biodiversity
Article first published online: 12 DEC 2011
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Global Ecology and Biogeography
Special Issue: QUO VADIS, ECOSYSTEM? SCENARIOS AS A TOOL FOR LARGE-SCALE ECOLOGICAL RESEARCH
Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 5–18, January 2012
How to Cite
Spangenberg, J. H., Bondeau, A., Carter, T. R., Fronzek, S., Jaeger, J., Jylhä, K., Kühn, I., Omann, I., Paul, A., Reginster, I., Rounsevell, M., Schweiger, O., Stocker, A., Sykes, M. T. and Settele, J. (2012), Scenarios for investigating risks to biodiversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 21: 5–18. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00620.x
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 12 DEC 2011
- policy implications;
Aim This paper describes a set of integrative scenarios developed in the ALARM (Assessing LArge-scale environmental Risks for biodiversity with tested Methods) project. The ultimate aim of ALARM was to develop and test methods and protocols for the assessment of large-scale environmental risks to biodiversity and to evaluate mitigation options. Scenarios provide a tool for exploring such risks and the policy options to mitigate them; therefore they play a central role within the ALARM project.
Methods Three integrative scenarios (liberalization, business as might be usual, sustainability) were developed and illustrated using the econometric model described in a subsequent paper. They are contextualized with projections from climate models and provide the input for model-based assessments of biodiversity trends. Additionally, three shock scenarios were developed (Gulf Stream collapse, peak oil, pandemic) to demonstrate the limits of linear extrapolation. As these extend beyond model capabilities, they are discussed semi-quantitatively based on modelling insights.
Results Although the policy impacts on biodiversity are different for different pressures, biomes and species groups, some general trends could be identified. An extension of current EU policies will act as a brake on current trends by slowing down the loss of biodiversity in many cases and in most biomes, but it will be capable of neither halting nor of reversing the loss. Liberalization has the effect of accelerating biodiversity loss across the board, with few exceptions. A coherent sustainability scenario is clearly the most effective at preserving biodiversity, but the variant tested here still does not halt losses in all cases.
Main conclusions Current EU policies for protecting biodiversity appear to be insufficient to reverse ongoing losses. Coherent sustainability strategies are effective at conserving biodiversity, but in order to assess losses and then reverse them, measures would need to be introduced that extend beyond the steps tested in the ALARM sustainability scenario.