Human Dimension of Biodiversity Change


Kamaljit S. Bawa

Field of Research

Sustainability Science


The major justification for the program on Human Dimensions of Biodiversity Change is that humans are major drivers of changes in biological diversity, and changes in biological diversity in turn affect human well-being. The main goal of the program is to develop a science plan to examine the reciprocal relationship between biodiversity change and human well-being.  The results from four workshops in 2009 will shape the program in 2010-2011. The program will largely focus on society‚Äôs responses to biodiversity changes and to the consequences of these changes on human well-being in 2011. Specifically, the program through a series of meetings will foster discussion on research questions and interdisciplinary approaches to examine:

  • Synergistic effects of climate change and biodiversity change on human populations
  • Vulnerability of human populations to biodiversity change (and climate change)
  • Role of traditional knowledge in mitigation of biodiversity loss and conservation of biodiversity
  • Curtailment of deleterious changes in biodiversity, particularly the role of current approaches to conserve biodiversity

In addition, the planned activities will focus on approaches required to synthesize new knowledge about interactions between nature and society, link knowledge with policy, and train researchers in sustainability science. The issues will be examined in the context of montane and coastal ecosystems and the most vulnerable populations living in these areas.

The program will begin with a workshop in Boston in late spring or early fall of 2010. This planning workshop to be attended by about half a dozen members of the sub-committee, and 3-4 other scientists working on the issues addressed above will develop a draft science plan for the program, and plan for a larger conference in India in March or April 2011 to discuss the science plan. The results of the 2010 and 2011 meetings will be presented to the next IUBS General Assembly.