The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, initiated by the United Nations (UN) in 2001, assesses the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and provides a scientific basis to undertake action for a sustainable use of those systems. Some key findings are that due to rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water and fuel, humans have influenced and changed ecosystems faster and more severe than ever over the past 50 years. Substantial and largely irreversible loss has been inflicted to the diversity of life on Earth. Although those changes have contributed to many gains in human well-being and economic development, the degradation resulting from those changes have increased risks of nonlinear changes and poverty for certain groups of people. Those problems will significantly diminish benefits that future generations will be able to reap from ecosystems.
From the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment web site (): "The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. From 2001 to 2005, the MA involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably."
Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Desertification Synthesis
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is probably the most comprehensive inventory and evaluation of the world’s ecosystems. MEA “assessed the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being. From 2001 to 2005, the MA involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world’s ecosystems and the services they provide, as well as the scientific basis for action to conserve and use them sustainably.” The and reports are exhaustive. If you are not an expert in ecology, biology, and other natural sciences, the synthesis reports are linked to popularized versions (see as an example).
Ecosystems and human well-being: biodiversity synthesis.
This report presents a synthesis and integration of the ndings of the four MA Working Groups (Condition and Trends, Scenarios, Responses, and Sub-global Assessments). It does not, however, provide a comprehensive summary of each Working Group report, and readers are encouraged to also review the ndings of these separately. This synthesis is organized around the core questions originally posed to the assessment: How have ecosystems and their services changed? What has caused these changes? How have these changes affected human well-being? How might ecosystems change in the future and what are the implications for human well-being? And what options exist to enhance the conservation of ecosystems and their contribution to human well-being?