IPBES: Understanding biodiversity and ecosystem services from multiple perspectives.

IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) www.ipbes.net is a global initiative, involving more than 120 countries, aimed to “to provide policy relevant knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services in response to calls from policy makers and other users of biodiversity, in order to inform decision making” (see editorial).

Last week, I have the opportunity to participate in the First meeting of IPBES for the Regional Assessment for the Americas. IPBES provides a very interesting new approach to deal with information coming from multiple sources and how to communicate and translate information so it can be understood by multiple stakeholders (Díaz et al. 2015). The idea is to recognize that each stakeholder has unique visions and languages to refer to nature and its benefits for humankind.

Observations, such as those discussed in our book with Rafe (Sagarin and Pauchard, 2012), may provide a unique way to connect multiple visions on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Because observations can be made by all stakeholders, within their own context; observations can help to not only observe the natural phenomena but also provide information on the observer and his/her/their view of nature. Obviously, this is not an easy process because it will require gathering information from multiple observers and understand the specific “language” and “context” of these observers. However, it will sure bring a more comprehensive view of the problem by not only adding the social dimension, but also opening new perspectives and delivering new insights into nature.

IPBES has a great challenge ahead, especially when including local indigenous knowledge and combining multiple societal views, but this is the challenge that we need to face right here, right now if we want to find a way to conserve biodiversity and at the same time improve human well-being.

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