Ecosystems and Human Well-being Synthesis: Reader’s Guide

This report presents a synthesis and integration of the findings of the four MA Working Groups along with more detailed findings for selected ecosystem services concerning condition and trends and scenarios (see Appendix A) and response options (see Appendix B). Five additional synthesis reports were prepared for ease of use by specific audiences: CBD (biodiversity), UNCCD (desertification), Ramsar Convention (wetlands), business, and the health sector. Each MA sub-global assessment will also produce additional reports to meet the needs of its own audience. The full technical assessment reports of the four MA Working Groups will be published in mid-2005 by Island Press. All printed materials of the assessment, along with core data and a glossary of terminology used in the technical reports, will be available on the Internet at Appendix D lists the acronyms and abbreviations used in this report and includes additional information on sources for some of the Figures. Throughout this report, dollar signs indicate U.S. dollars and tons mean metric tons.

References that appear in parentheses in the body of this synthesis report are to the underlying chapters in the full technical assessment reports of each Working Group. (A list of the assessment report chapters is provided in Appendix E.) To assist the reader, citations to the technical volumes generally specify sections of chapters or specific Boxes, Tables, or Figures, based on final drafts of the chapter. Some chapter subsection numbers may change during final copyediting, however, after this synthesis report has been printed. Bracketed references within the Summary for Decision-makers are to the key questions of this full synthesis report, where additional information on each topic can be found.

In this report, the following words have been used where appropriate to indicate judgmental estimates of certainty, based on the collective judgment of the authors, using the observational evidence, modeling results, and theory that they have examined: very certain (98% or greater probability), high certainty (85–98% probability), medium certainty (65–85% probability), low certainty (52–65% probability), and very uncertain (50–52% probability). In other instances, a qualitative scale to gauge the level of scientific understanding is used: well established, established but incomplete, competing explanations, and speculative. Each time these terms are used they appear in italics.

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This is a chapter from Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis (full report).
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Institute, W. (2008). Ecosystems and Human Well-being Synthesis: Reader’s Guide. Retrieved from


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