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por Tereza Cristina Giannini - publicado 02/04/2013 17:05 - última modificação 13/05/2013 13:58

Rockström, J., W. Steffen, K. Noone, Å. Persson, F. S. Chapin, III, E. Lambin, T. M. Lenton, M. Scheffer, C. Folke, H. Schellnhuber, B. Nykvist, C. A. De Wit, T. Hughes, S. van der Leeuw, H. Rodhe, S. Sörlin, P. K. Snyder, R. Costanza, U. Svedin, M. Falkenmark, L. Karlberg, R. W. Corell, V. J. Fabry, J. Hansen, B. Walker, D. Liverman, K. Richardson, P. Crutzen, and J. Foley. 2009. Planetary boundaries:exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and Society 14(2): article 32.

Anthropogenic pressures on the Earth System have reached a scale where abrupt global environmental change can no longer be excluded. We propose a new approach to global sustainability in which we define planetary boundaries within which we expect that humanity can operate safely. Transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental- to planetary-scale systems. We have identified nine planetary boundaries and, drawing upon current scientific understanding, we propose quantifications for seven of them. These seven are climate change (CO2 concentration in the atmosphere <350 ppm and/or a maximum change of +1 W m-2 in radiative forcing); ocean acidification (mean surface seawater saturation state with respect to aragonite ³ 80% of pre-industrial levels); stratospheric ozone (<5% reduction in O3 concentration from pre-industrial level of 290 Dobson Units); biogeochemical nitrogen (N) cycle (limit industrial and agricultural fixation of N2 to 35 Tg N yr-1) and phosphorus (P) cycle (annual P inflow to oceans not to exceed 10 times the natural background weathering of P); global freshwater use (<4000 km3 yr-1 of consumptive use of runoff resources); land system change (<15% of the ice-free land surface under cropland); and the rate at which biological diversity is lost (annual rate of <10 extinctions per million species). The two additional planetary boundaries for which we have not yet been able to determine a boundary level are chemical pollution and atmospheric aerosol loading. We estimate that humanity has already transgressed three planetary boundaries: for climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and changes to the global nitrogen cycle. Planetary boundaries are interdependent, because transgressing one may both shift the position of other boundaries or cause them to be transgressed. The social impacts of transgressing boundaries will be a function of the social–ecological resilience of the affected societies. Our proposed boundaries are rough, first estimates only, surrounded by large uncertainties and knowledge gaps. Filling these gaps will require major advancements in Earth System and resilience science. The proposed concept of “planetary boundaries” lays the groundwork for shifting our approach to governance and management, away from the essentially sectoral analyses of limits to growth aimed at minimizing negative externalities, toward the estimation of the safe space for human development. Planetary boundaries define, as it were, the boundaries of the “planetary playing field” for humanity if we want to be sure of avoiding major human-induced environmental change on a global scale.

Rockström, J., Steffen. W., Noone, K., Persson, A., Chapin, F.S., Lambin, E.F., Lenton, T.M, Scheffer, Folke, C., Schellnhuber, H.J., Nykvist, B., Wit, C.A., Hughes, T., Leeuw, S., Rodhe, H., Sörlin, S., Snyder, P.K., Costanza, R., Svedin, U., Falkenmark, M., Karlberg, L., Corell, R.W., Fabry, V.J., Hansen, J., Walker, B., Liverman, D., Richardson, K., Crutzen, P. & Foley, J.A. 2009. A safe operating space for humanity. Nature, 461: 472-475.

To meet the challenge of maintaining the Holocene state, we propose a framework based on ‘planetary boundaries’. These boundaries define the safe operating space for humanity with respect to the Earth system and are associated with the planet’s biophysical subsystems or processes. Although Earth’s complex systems sometimes respond smoothly to changing pressures, it seems that this will prove to be the exception rather than the rule. Many subsystems of Earth react in a nonlinear, often abrupt, way, and are particularly sensitive around threshold levels of certain key variables. If these thresholds are crossed, then important subsystems, such as a monsoon system, could shift into a new state, often with deleterious or potentially even disastrous consequences for humans.

Ellis, E.C., Goldewijk, K.K., Siebert, S.; Lightman, D & Ramankutty, N. 2010. Anthropogenic transformation of the biomes, 1700 to 2000.  Global Ecology and  Biogeography, 19: 589-606.

Between 1700 and 2000, the terrestrial biosphere made the critical transition frommostly wild to mostly anthropogenic, passing the 50% mark early in the 20th century. At present, and ever more in the future, the form and process of terrestrial ecosystems in most biomes will be predominantly anthropogenic, the product of land use and other direct human interactions with ecosystems. Ecological research and conservation efforts in all but a few biomes would benefit from a primary focus on the novel remnant, recovering and managed ecosystems embedded within used lands.

Farley, J.; Costanza, R. 2010. Payments for ecosystem services: From local to global. Ecological Economics 69: 2060–2068.

Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is becoming increasingly popular as a way to manage ecosystems using economic incentives. The environmental economics approach to PES tries to force ecosystem services into the market model, with an emphasis on efficiency. The ecological economics approach, in contrast, seeks to adapt economic institutions to the physical characteristics of ecosystem services prioritizing ecological sustainability and just distribution and requiring a transdisciplinary approach. This paper summarizes the results of a participatory “atelier” workshop held in Costa Rica. We developed a set of principles (the Heredia Declaration) for PES systems and report on evolving initiatives in several countries. We discuss how the distinction between ecosystem goods (which are stock-flow resources) and ecosystem services (which are fund-service resources) and the physical characteristics of the fund-services affect the appropriate institutional form for PES. We conclude that PES systems represent an important way to effectively manage fund-service resources as public goods, and that this represents a significant departure from conventional market institutions.


Gómez-Baggethun, E.; Groot, R.; Lomas, P.L.; Montes, C. 2010. The history of ecosystem services in economic theory and practice: From early notions to markets and payment schemes. Ecological Economics 69: 1209–1218.

This paper reviews the historic development of the conceptualization of ecosystem services and examines critical landmarks in economic theory and practice with regard to the incorporation of ecosystem services into markets and payment schemes. The review presented here suggests that the trend towards monetization and commodification of ecosystem services is partly the result of a slow move from the original economic conception of nature's benefits as use values in Classical economics to their conceptualization in terms of exchange values in Neoclassical economics. The theory and practice of current ecosystem services science are examined in the light of this historical development. From this review, we conclude that the focus on monetary valuation and payment schemes has contributed to attract political support for conservation, but also to commodify a growing number of ecosystem services and to reproduce the Neoclassical economics paradigm and the market logic to tackle environmental problems.


Larigauderie, A.; Mooney, H.A. 2010. The International Year of Biodiversity: an opportunity to strengthen the science–policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2: 1–2.

This issue of Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability is entirely dedicated to ‘Biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being’. It is very timely as it is published during 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. Later this year, delegates to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will attend COP10 (Conference of the Parties) in Nagoya, and conclude that, by and large, the 2010 biodiversity targets have been missed. This failure should be seen as a collective failure of the science– policy process and we, the scientific community, should reflect on the reasons for this, and feel committed to improving the situation. As suggested in the Cape Town declaration, adopted at the second DIVERSITAS Open Science Conference (Larigauderie and Mooney, this issue) we, as scientists, must commit to be more present in policy debates, to better understand policy needs, and to become much better at addressing them.


Larigauderie, A.; Mooney, H.A. 2010. The Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: moving a step closer to an IPCC-like mechanism for biodiversity. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2: 9–14.

Efforts to establish an ‘IPCC-like mechanism for biodiversity’, or an IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), may culminate soon— as governments, the scientific community and other stakeholders are getting ready for a third round of negotiations on IPBES. This paper provides firstly, a brief history and broader context for the IPBES process; secondly, a description of the niche that IPBES would occupy in the science-policy landscape for biodiversity and ecosystem services; and thirdly, concludes with some views on the role of scientists in IPBES, and on the need to have strong and proper scientific structures to coordinate scientific efforts internationally, in order to produce the science needed for IPBES.


Raudsepp-Hearnea, C.; Petersona, G.D.; Bennett, E.M. 2010. Ecosystem service bundles for analyzing tradeoffs in diverse landscapes. PNAS 1-6.

A key challenge of ecosystem management is determining how to manage multiple ecosystem services across landscapes. Enhancing important provisioning ecosystem services, such as food and timber, often leads to tradeoffs between regulating and cultural ecosystem services, such as nutrient cycling, flood protection, and tourism. We developed a framework for analyzing the provision of multiple ecosystem services across landscapes and present an empirical demonstration of ecosystem service bundles, sets of services that appear together repeatedly. Ecosystem service bundles were identified by analyzing the spatial patterns of 12 ecosystem services in a mixed use landscape consisting of 137 municipalities in Quebec, Canada. We identified six types of ecosystem service bundles and were able to link these bundles to areas on the landscape characterized by distinct social–ecological dynamics. Our results show landscape scale tradeoffs between provisioning and almost all regulating and cultural ecosystem services, and they show that a greater diversity of ecosystem services is positively correlated with the provision of regulating ecosystem services. Ecosystem service-bundle analysis can identify areas on a landscape where ecosystem management has produced exceptionally desirable or undesirable sets of ecosystem services.


Cornell, S. 2011. The Rise and Rise of Ecosystem Services: Is “value” the best bridging concept between society and the natural world? Procedia Environmental Sciences 6, 88–95.

Economics – specifically, monetary valuation – has been given a pivotal role in ecosystem conservation. This is a retrogressive step, undoing important sustainability principles and practices that should have been embedded in environmental policy and management action. The concept of ecosystem services is a useful framework for understanding the dependency of human society on its natural environment, but it needs to be part of a larger solution that recognizes the complexity of the socio-ecological system, and the issues of equity and justice that pertain to sustainable responses to global environmental change. There have been a few recent critical analyses of the ecosystem services concept and its global application that address these issues. This paper summarizes the perspectives and arguments made in those articles, and argues for more reflexive policy and research.


Acevedo, M.F.. 2011. Interdisciplinary progress in food production, food security and environment research. Environmental Conservation 38, 151–171.

This review examines contributions of interdisciplinary research to understanding interactions between environmental quality, food production and food security. Global patterns of food insecurity and crop production are reviewed in relation to climate, land use and economic changes, as well as potential productivity increases compatible with environmental conservation. Interactions between food production and global processes make food insecurity a complex problem that requires ID analysis at local to global scales. Census and satellite data contribute to understanding of global cropland distribution. Analysis of land-use change exemplifies research between natural and social sciences. Quantitative modelling of global climate change impacts indicates relatively greater potential food insecurity in developing countries. International food security is increasingly interconnected through economic globalization and incentives for increased food production are required. Societies may not be able to expand available cropland without significant environmental risks; enhanced land and water productivity are the major opportunities available to increase food production. This requires renewed efforts in ID work to design and implement sound and efficient agricultural management practices. Models need to be informed by data from field experiments, long-term measurements and watershed monitoring by ground and remote sensing methods. Agricultural intensification may spare natural land but lead to increased pollution and water demand; reconciling conservation and productivity is a critical need. ID work provides many opportunities for synergies including conservation agriculture at the local level, efficient use of inputs, smarter land use taking into account spatial patterns and landscape ecology principles, and improved water management at field, system, watershed and basin levels. Goal-directed ID research is crucial, since producers, practitioners and policy makers should be involved. Geospatial, biotechnological and precision agriculture technologies linked with models can help inform strategies to achieve sustainable food production increases that maintain environmental quality. Implementation also requires ID work to overcome impediments due to human factors and facilitate adoption by farmers.


Costanza, R.; Leeuw, S.;, Hibbard, S. A.; et al. 2012. Developing an Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE). Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4, 106–114.

The Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE) initiative is a global network of researchers and research projects with its International Program Office (IPO) now based at the Stockholm Resilience Center (SRC), Uppsala University, Arizona State University, Portland State University, and the Australian National University. Research linked to IHOPE demonstrates that Earth system changes in the past have been strongly associated with changes in the coupled human– environment system. IHOPE supports integrating knowledge and resources from the biophysical and the social sciences and the humanities to address analytical and interpretive issues associated with coupled human–earth system dynamics. This integration of human history and Earth system history is a timely and important task. Until recently, however, there have been few attempts at such integration. IHOPE will create frameworks that can be used to help achieve this integration. The overarching goal is to produce a rich understanding of the relationships between environmental and human processes over the past millennia. IHOPE recognizes that one major challenge for reaching this goal is developing ‘workable’ terminology that can be accepted by scholars of all disciplines. The specific objectives for IHOPE are to identify slow and rapidly moving features of complex social– ecological systems, on local to continental spatial scales, which induce resilience, stress, or collapse in linked systems of humans in nature. These objectives will be reached by exploring innovative ways of conducting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary science, including theory, case studies, and integrated modeling. Examples of projects underway to implement this initiative are briefly discussed.


Dearing, J.A.; Bullock, S.; Costanza, R.; Dawson, T.P.  et. al. 2012. Navigating the Perfect Storm: Research Strategies for Socialecological Systems in a Rapidly Evolving World. Environmental Management 49,767–775.

The ‘Perfect Storm’ metaphor describes a combination of events that causes a surprising or dramatic impact. It lends an evolutionary perspective to how socialecological interactions change. Thus, we argue that an improved understanding of how social-ecological systems have evolved up to the present is necessary for the modelling, understanding and anticipation of current and future social-ecological systems. Here we consider the implications of an evolutionary perspective for designing research approaches. One desirable approach is the creation of multi-decadal records produced by integrating palaeoenvironmental, instrument and documentary sources at multiple spatial scales. We also consider the potential for improved analytical and modelling approaches by developing system dynamical, cellular and agent-based models, observing complex behaviour in social-ecological systems against which to test systems dynamical theory, and drawing better lessons from history. Alongside these is the need to find more appropriate ways to communicate complex systems, risk and uncertainty to the public and to policy-makers.


Larigauderie, A.; Prieur-Richard, A. H.; Mace, G.M. 2012. Biodiversity and ecosystem services science for a sustainable planet: the DIVERSITAS vision for 2012–20. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4, 101–105.

DIVERSITAS, the international program on biodiversity science, is releasing a strategic vision presenting scientific challenges for the next decade of research on biodiversity and ecosystem services: ‘‘Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Science for a Sustainable Planet’’. This new vision is a response of the biodiversity and ecosystem services scientific community to the accelerating loss of the components of biodiversity, as well as to changes in the biodiversity sciencepolicy landscape (establishment of a Biodiversity Observing Network — GEO BON, of an Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services — IPBES, of the new Future Earth initiative; and release of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020). This article presents the vision and its core scientific challenges.


Seppelt, R.; Dormann, C.F.; Eppink, F.V.; Lautenbach, S.; Schmidt, S. 2012. A quantitative review of ecosystem service studies: approaches, shortcomings and the road ahead. Journal of Applied Ecology doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01952.x.

1) Ecosystem services are defined as the benefits that humans obtain from ecosystems. Employing the ecosystem service concept is intended to support the development of policies and instruments that integrate social, economic and ecological perspectives. In recent years, this concept has become the paradigm of ecosystem management. 2) The prolific use of the term ‘ecosystem services’ in scientific studies has given rise to concerns about its arbitrary application. A quantitative review of recent literature shows the diversity of approaches and uncovers a lack of consistent methodology. 3) From this analysis, we have derived four facets that characterise the holistic ideal of ecosystem services research: (i) biophysical realism of ecosystem data and models; (ii) consideration of local trade-offs; (iii) recognition of off-site effects; and (iv) comprehensive but critical involvement of stakeholders within assessment studies. 4) These four facets should be taken as a methodological blueprint for further development and discussion. They should critically reveal and elucidate what may often appear to be ad-hoc approaches to ecosystem service assessments. 5) Synthesis and applications: Based on this quantitative review, we provide guidelines for further development and discussions supporting consistency in applications of the ecosystem service concept as well as the credibility of results, which in turn can make it easier to generalise from the numerous individual studies.


Wratten, S.D.; Gillespie, M.; Decourtye, A.; Mader, E.; Desneux, N. 2012. Pollinator habitat enhancement: Benefits to other ecosystem services. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 159, 112– 122.

A range of policy initiatives have been promoted in recent years to address the decline of bee populations in Europe and North America. Among these has been the establishment of flower-rich habitat within or around intensively farmed landscapes to increase the availability of pollen and nectar resources. The composition of these habitats depends on location and compatibility with adjacent cropping systems, but they often consist of fields planted with temporary flowering cover crops, field borders with perennial or annual flowering species, hedgerows comprising prolifically flowering shrubs, and grass buffer strips (used to manage erosion and nutrient runoff) which are supplemented with dicotyledonous flower species. While the primary objective of such measures is to increase the ecological fitness of pollinator populations through enhanced larval and adult nutrition, such strategies also provide secondary benefits to the farm and the surrounding landscape. Specifically, the conservation of pollinator habitat can enhance overall biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides (including pest population reduction), protect soil and water quality by mitigating runoff and protecting against soil erosion, and enhance rural aesthetics. Incorporating these secondary benefits into decision making processes is likely to help stakeholders to assess the trade-offs implicit in supplying ecosystem services.


Howe, C.; Suich, H.; Gardingen, P.; Rahman, A.; Mace, G.M. 2012. Elucidating the pathways between climate change, ecosystem services and poverty alleviation. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 5, 102–107.

A rapid review of the current literature on the links between climate change, ecosystem services (ES) and poverty alleviation has identified 41 papers. Of these, 19 were considered relevant as they specifically discussed the linkages between ES and poverty and the influence of climate change on that relationship. The papers reviewed focused on a limited number of ES and rarely considered multiple dimensions of poverty or the full range of climate change effects. The authors collectively recognise a complex network of relationships between ES and poverty, further complicated by the potential impacts of climate change. There is an urgent need for empirical research and interdisciplinarity, including developing a commonly understood set of definitions, in order to begin to elucidate pathways that will significantly affect the abilities of people to adapt to our rapidly changing climate.


Brittain, C.; Kremen, C.; Klein, A.M. 2013. Biodiversity buffers pollination from changes in environmental conditions. Global Change Biology 19, 540–547.

A hypothesized underlying principle of the diversity-functioning relationship is that functional groups respond differently to environmental change. Over 3 years, we investigated how  pollinator diversity contributes to the magnitude of pollination service through spatial complementarity and differential response to high winds in California almond orchards. We found honey bees preferentially visited the top sections of the tree. Where wild pollinators were present, they showed spatial complementarity to honey bees and visited the bottom tree sections more frequently. As wind speed increased, honey bees’ spatial preference shifted toward the bottom tree sections. In high winds (>2.5 ms-1), orchards with low pollinator diversity (honey bees only) received almost no flower visits. In orchards with high pollinator diversity, visitation decreased to a lesser extent as wild bee visitation was unaffected by high winds. Our results demonstrate how spatial complementarity in diverse communities can help buffer pollination services to environmental changes like wind speed.


Kroll, F.; Müller, F.; Haase, D.; Fohrer, N. 2013. Rural–urban gradient analysis of ecosystem services supply and demand dynamics. Land Use Policy 29, 521– 535.

Urban regions are important places of ecosystem service demands and, at the same time, are the primary source of global environmental impacts. Although there is broad agreement on the importance of incorporating the concept of ecosystem services into policy strategies and decision-making, the lack of a standardized approach to quantifying ecosystem services at the landscape scale has hindered progress in this direction. Moreover, tradeoffs between ecosystem services and the supply/demand ratio of ecosystem services in urban landscapes have rarely been investigated. In our paper, we present a method to quantify and map the supply and demand of three essential provisioning services – energy, food, and water – along the rural–urban gradient of the eastern German region Leipzig–Halle. This urban region has experienced significant socio-economic dynamics and land use changes since the German reunification in 1990. The results show that both the demand and the supply of ecosystem services changed considerably during the time span under consideration (1990–2007). We identified an increasing supply/ demand ratio of food and water but a decreasing supply/demand ratio of energy. In addition, the pattern of ecosystem demands shows a levelling of rural–urban gradients, reflecting profound modifications of traditional rural–urban relationships. The changes of ecosystem service supply gradients are determined more by land use intensity, such as the intensification of agricultural production, than by land cover changes such as urban sprawl. The comparison of supply/demand ratios and rural–urban patterns of ecosystem services can help decision-makers in landscape management in striving for a sustainable balance between resource supply and demand.