Future Earth Natural Assets

Photo: CIFOR

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Almost everything we eat, drink and breathe is a product of ecosystems and the life forms that inhabit them. Food, safe water, health, the climate system and a meaningful, enjoyable human life are inextricably linked to them. Yet, ecosystems are being altered and degraded faster than in any period in history, and the variety of life on Earth is declining.

How will changes to ecosystems and their biota alter the benefits that human societies need to have a fulfilling life?

The challenge lies in achieving a scientifically-based, sustainable and fair stewardship of terrestrial, freshwater and marine natural assets underpinning human well-being by (a) understanding relationships between biodiversity, ecosystems and their benefits to societies and (b) developing effective management and governance approaches.

The Natural Assets KAN aims at better understanding the functioning of the Earth System in the Anthropocene and it aims at actively contributing to the SDG goal 15: life on land.

Possibilities to partner in the short term

The Natural Assets KAN will be co-designed with the active involvement of relevant parties that share our vision. Therefore, on the basis of the very general foci and challenges expressed above, we encourage all Future Earth Core Projects, Clusters and Fast Track Initiatives as well as the broader research and stakeholder community to contact us to share insight, put forward specific foci for action and in general join the discussion.

Desired outcomes

The concrete areas of action, as well as their prioritisation, will be developed with the participation of the community. The following are tentative examples to illustrate the scale and level of action we are envisioning:

  • Synthesis products integrating state-of-the-art findings in the interface between natural assets and key aspects of human wellbeing, such as natural assets & urban sustainability, natural assets & human health, and natural assets & food security
  • Links to the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), in particular in addressing critical knowledge needs identified by this body
  • “Horizon-scanning” meetings and other activities to identify and catalyse critical thinking and research in emerging fields at the interface between natural assets and other fields of knowledge relevant to sustainable and fair futures
  • New data synthesis efforts

Contact: natural.assets@futureearth.org