Societal burdens of nature loss…Global modeling of nature’s contributions to people

Featured Journal Content

11 October 2019 Vol 366, Issue 6462

Responsible genetic genealogy
Thomas F. Callaghan
The scientific development of forensic genetic genealogy (FGG), which couples genetic analysis with investigation of publicly available genealogy information, has successfully transformed law enforcement investigations by solving more than 50 cases over the last 18 months in the United States. However, use of FGG by law enforcement has preceded widespread development of best practices to protect the genetic privacy of private citizens who have voluntarily submitted samples to genealogy databases. Absent best practices, use of FGG could lead to compromised cases, diminished use, or the loss of this new investigative tool. Public support for FGG could be jeopardized and confidence in forensic DNA analysis could be undermined. As the custodian of a national law enforcement DNA database (CODIS), the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looked to by many in the law enforcement and forensic DNA communities for guidance, and its efforts often influence the global community. The emergence of FGG suggests that further discussions on privacy, genomics, and the use of genealogy by law enforcement would be beneficial. Accordingly, the FBI seeks to engage the scientific and bioethics communities in such a dialogue.

Societal burdens of nature loss
By Patricia Balvanera
Science11 Oct 2019 : 184-185 Restricted Access
Interdisciplinary science and international policy collaborate to stem inequities
The rapid decline of biodiversity predicts dire consequences for human society, according to the recent Global Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (1). The report notes that up to a million species are threatened with extinction (2) and that many benefits humans obtain from nature have decreased over the last 50 years, a decline likely continue until at least 2050. If transformative changes are to be implemented, scientists and policy-makers must address questions about the deterioration of nature and the locations that bear the greatest resulting burdens. On page 255 of this issue, Chaplin-Kramer et al. (3) address these questions by presenting global models of the current status and future trends of three key contributions from nature.

Global modeling of nature’s contributions to people
By Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Richard P. Sharp, Charlotte Weil, Elena M. Bennett, Unai Pascual, Katie K. Arkema, Kate A. Brauman, Benjamin P. Bryant, Anne D. Guerry, Nick M. Haddad, Maike Hamann, Perrine Hamel, Justin A. Johnson, Lisa Mandle, Henrique M. Pereira, Stephen Polasky, Mary Ruckelshaus, M. Rebecca Shaw, Jessica M. Silver, Adrian L. Vogl, Gretchen C. Daily
Science11 Oct 2019 : 255-258 Full Access
Projections to 2050 show up to 5 billion people at risk of water pollution, coastal storms, and deficient crop pollination.
Editor’s Summary
The future of nature’s contributions
A recent Global Assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has emphasized the urgent need to determine where and how nature’s contribution matters most to people. Chaplin-Kramer et al. have developed a globalscale modeling of ecosystem services, focusing on water quality regulation, coastal protection, and crop pollination (see the Perspective by Balvanera). By 2050, up to 5 billion people may be at risk from diminishing ecosystem services, particularly in Africa and South Asia.
The magnitude and pace of global change demand rapid assessment of nature and its contributions to people. We present a fine-scale global modeling of current status and future scenarios for several contributions: water quality regulation, coastal risk reduction, and crop pollination. We find that where people’s needs for nature are now greatest, nature’s ability to meet those needs is declining. Up to 5 billion people face higher water pollution and insufficient pollination for nutrition under future scenarios of land use and climate change, particularly in Africa and South Asia. Hundreds of millions of people face heightened coastal risk across Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas. Continued loss of nature poses severe threats, yet these can be reduced 3- to 10-fold under a sustainable development scenario.