Linking biodiversity, ecosystems, and people across scales: challenges for ecology and sustainability.

Michel Loreau
(Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling, Theoretical and Experimental Ecology Station, UMR 5321 CNRS and Paul Sabatier University, France)

2017/10/18, 15:00 - , at W1-D-208

     People are now driving the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history, and yet biodiversity enhances many of nature’s benefits to people. The influence and dependence of people on biodiversity have mainly been studied separately and at contrasting scales of space and time but new ecological theory is beginning to link these relationships across scales. This theory shows that biodiversity loss substantially diminishes many ecosystem services by altering ecosystem functioning and stability especially at the large temporal and spatial scales that are most relevant for policy and conservation. The influence and dependence of people on biodiversity also generate an important if poorly understood feedback loop between humans and nature. New models of social-ecological systems emphasize the role of feedbacks and scales in human-nature interactions and the importance of foresight for the sustainability of human societies. They call for the development of integrative management approaches that account for the coupled dynamics of human populations biodiversity and ecosystems across multiple spatial and temporal scales.

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