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Ecological Sustainability

IES Seminar VI presentation by Sophie, Luise, Alex, Adriana

Mother Nature

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of Ecological Sustainability

Oceans Wetlands Desert Antarctica Steppe Mountains Forests http://unstats.un.org/unsd/envaccounting/ceea/meetings/UNCEEA-6-13-1.pdf
http://www.unep.org/ecosystemmanagement/ Sources 2012 EPI Ranking 2012 EPI ranking Successor of ESI
Different focus than ESI:
How close to countries are to established policy goals
Reports released in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 Environmental Performance Index Benchmarks ability of nations to protect environment over next several decades.
Based on „pressure-state-response“ policy model
High scores = high ability to maintain favourable environmental conditions into future Environmental Sustainability Index Indicators should be derived from a consistent framework
If possible, internationally harmonized
Based on already existing data
Communication with stakeholders
Limit number of indicators Indicators Information gaps
Policy based on generalized observations/ best guesses
Strengthen environmental problem solving
Achievement of global-scale policy goals Why do we need to measure environmental sustainability? Measuring Environmental sustainability Depends on social and economic behavior
Should be avoided unless you want to see population crashes

Ecological sustainability is the last step because it is influenced by economy which is determined by social demands. Carrying capacity Energy source must be renewable

All other resources must be completely recycled Energy and Resources Circle of life The entropy of an isolated system can only increase over time.

Entropy= measure of disorder(chaos)

Isolated system= a system that does not have any mass/energy exchange with another system Second law of thermodynamics A system is referred to as being sustainable if it can provide support for its population indefinitely. Sustainability a presentation by
Alex, Sophie, Adriana, Luise Ecological Sustainability

The land is too cold, dry and dark for plants and animals

Soils are not very fertile

Provision of food, medicine and fibers SLASH-and-burn agriculture Now mainly done in the tropics but it was also practiced in temperate regions

found in many different ecosystems: forest, savannah, grassland

Use of fire to prepare field
Burning converts biomass into nutrient rich ash

Abandonment when productivity declines
Result of depletion of soil nutrients Slash-and-burn agriculture Primary cause of tropical deforestation
Poor crop yields
Rapid soil degradation

Does not account for environmental constraints
High population density and high land use pressure Unsustainable slash-and-burn agriculture Adapted to the environment in which it is practiced

Low population densities and low intensity of land use

example from Suriname

Traditional systems often include soil conservation practices

fallows used in response to lowered crop yields and increased pest pressures
serve to halt soil degradation and to restore fertility and other soil conditions that were degraded by conversion and cropping Sustainable slash-and-burn agriculture ability to maintain production through time, in face of long-term ecological constraints

two indicators to assess ecological sustainability of agroecosystems
crop yields
ecological limits
soil resources

resembles nature more than modern agricultural systems Ecological sustainability of slash-and-burn agriculture High ecosystem service value (Constanza, 1997)

Biodiversity support, water quality improvement, flood abatement, and carbon sequestration (Zedler and Kercher, 2005)

"charismatic animals" (Junk and de Cunha, 2005)

periodic water storage and release, stabilization of the regional climate, water purification, and sediment trapping (Junk and de Cunha, 2005) Pantanal 60,000 ha private preserves
assess, manage and monitor
Partnership with UNESCO, WWF and IBAMA
Great Rivers Partnership:
public-private partnership
restoring watersheds
influencing agriculture development Nourishment of ecosystems around the world
Nutrients cycling (Schlesinger et. al. 1996) Raw materials (Henderson, 2007) light intensive environment Genetic resources (endemism) (Maggs, Craven and Kolberg, 1998) high annual rainfall and hot climate Thailand Local government wants to push for intensive farming

Intensive farming is a leading source of carbon emissions

shifting cultivation is good for climate and biodiversity

Carbon sink (more CO2 sinks than is released by burning) less energy development and economic activities almost don't exist Largest global freshwater reserves
--> Maintaining sea level Transportation


Food Reality/Future Not sufficient land --> slash-and-burn agriculture cannot support our rapidly growing population

3 possibilities
increasing productivity of land currently used for slash-and-burn
Provide other opportunities jobs, income, social services
Intensify/increase modern agriculture emergence of life Climate regulation The top ten feet of the ocean hold as much heat as our entire atmosphere biodiversity and productivity http://www.eoearth.org/article/Marine_ecosystem_services
Kleinman, P. "The Ecological Sustainability of Slash-and-burn Agriculture." Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 52.2-3 (1995): 235-49. Print. IES Seminar Spring 2013 Not only ice and snow: rich wildlife Highest concentration of glaciers outside polar regions Water supply: 40 % Human impact clearly visible during soviet farming system and breakdown (Hölzel et.al. 2002) 90% of Eurasian Steppe has been changed (MottMcDonald consultancy) http://epi.yale.edu/epi2012/map Slash-and-burn agriculture Climate regulation
--> CO2 storage Maintenance of water cycle and rainfall levels Prevention of erosion Future Outlook 2015 Millennium Goals include:

Ensure Environmental Sustainability!
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