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IUFRO The Advocate for Forest Science.
Among the special emphasis areas in the IUFRO Strategy 2010-2014 are Impacts and effects of biodiversity loss at various levels, including genetic resources, Landscape-level strategies for biodiversity conservation, and Ecosystem services of forest biodiversity, ecosystem resilience and adapted forest management for protected areas. This special emphasis is in line with major international processes and cutting-edge science in terms of its view of the relationships between forests and people. People depend on ecosystem services and therefore on the forests and their biodiversity that provide these services. Forest biodiversity contributes to material welfare and livelihoods, security, socio-ecological resilience, social relations, health, and freedom of choices and actions – the components of sustainable human development, and key features of the Millennium Development Goals (MEA 2005). Forests are major providers of services in all five categories identified by MEA (2005), at scales from the global – climate regulation – to the regional – recreation, provision of water for human use – and the local – firewood, construction materials and food in the tropics, for example. The rationale for conservation of forest biodiversity because of people's dependence on the services that it provides has never been more clearly articulated. The task force will work to synthesise and disseminate knowledge regarding this rationale, for a range of end users from policy makers to other scientists. Collaboration and coordination are envisaged with international processes such as the CBD, the new Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and the UNFF.
The Task Force will address the following specific subjects:
Why should we conserve forest biodiversity? The Task Force will synthesise and develop the MEA framework for the specific case of forest biodiversity conservation – the people-forest biodiversity-forest ecosystem service interaction.
Where should we conserve forest biodiversity? Do geographic priorities for conservation have to be modified to take ecosystem services into account? At the moment, evidence is growing that conservation priorities aimed solely at traditional biodiversity values (species and ecosystems) do not conserve optimal levels of the ecosystem services, and vice versa (Naidoo et al. 2008 PNAS). The Task Force will focus on geographic priority-setting for conservation combining supply and demand for ecosystem services with traditional conservation objects.
How should we conserve forest biodiversity? Approaches to co-management of forest landscapes – the relative effectiveness, in relation to biodiversity and ecosystem service conservation, of different governance models for landscape management.
Particular emphasis will be given to the functional aspects of forest biodiversity and conceptual frameworks and tools for understanding and managing the socioecological system in this context (Díaz et al. 2011 PNAS).
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