OOS 42-6 - The challenges of linking biological and climate models

Thursday, August 9, 2012: 9:50 AM
C124, Oregon Convention Center
Michael Obersteiner, Ecosystem Services and Management, International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Ecosystems provide important services and bring about tremendous benefits to human society ranging from food and timber, climate regulation and nutrient cycling to cultural amenities. However, in the past decades, humans have changed agricultural and natural ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history. Will it be possible during the 21st Century to satisfy the increasing global consumption of goods and services and still maintain desirable levels of ecosystem service provision?  Models and scenarios will be one of the key tools for IPBES to provide guidance on the trade-offs inherent in pursuing different policy options.  Using the IIASA GLOBIOM model we will provide some results of global investigation of the multiple ecosystems services, with a focus on climate protection and biodiversity conservation.


Different policy scenarios modeled in GLOBIOM suggest the variation in consequences of human appropriation of natural resources, in areas such as land use change, overuse of water resources, biodiversity losses, nutrient cycling, deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, among others. These scenarios allow examination of trade-offs between different ecosystem services and other components of human well-being. The model also offers insight into the value of information for effective and efficient policies to resolve these issues, highlighting the dangers inherent in the paucity of reliable data. In the face of uncertainty, decisions fall back on the arguments of competing economic and societal interests, rather than scientific analysis.  The talk will conclude with a comparison of the societal value of improved earth observations relative to the costs of data production and processing.