This is part of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Biodiversity Synthesis
Extended Writing Team: MA Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors, Contributing Authors, and Sub-global Assessment Coordinators
Review Editors: José Sarukhán and Anne Whyte (co-chairs) and MA Board of Review Editors
The goal of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is to establish the scientific basis for actions needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their contributions to meeting human needs. Because the basis of all ecosystems is a dynamic complex of plants, animals, and microorganisms, biological diversity (or biodiversity, for short) has been a key component of the MA. The MA recognizes that interactions exist between people, biodiversity, and ecosystems. That is, changing human conditions drive, both directly and indirectly, changes in biodiversity, changes in ecosystems, and ultimately changes in the services ecosystems provide. Thus biodiversity and human well-being are inextricably linked. (See Figure A.) The MA also recognizes that many other factors independent of changes in biodiversity affect the human condition and that biodiversity is influenced by many natural forces that are not associated with humans.
Human well-being is the central focus for the MA, but biodiversity and ecosystems also have intrinsic value. People make decisions concerning ecosystems based on considerations of well-being as well as intrinsic value.
A full assessment of the interactions between people and biodiversity requires a multiscale approach, as this better reflects the multiscale nature of decision-making, allows the examination of driving forces from outside particular regions, and provides a means of examining the differential impact of changes in biodiversity, ecosystem services, and policy responses on different regions and groups within regions. The MA thus consists of a global assessment and 33 sub-global assessments. (See Figure B.)
Disclaimer: This chapter is taken wholly from, or contains information that was originally written for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment as published by the World Resources Institute. The content has not been modified by the Encyclopedia of Earth.
This is a chapter from Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis (full report).
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