Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

92 E Diversity of landscapes and ecosystems

sions originate from them and they have a decisive

impact on the decoupling of biogeochemical cycles.

E 1.3

Anthropogenic influence on the biosphere in

terms of landscape – case studies

of their high productivity and the high population

density of the surrounding coastal regions (Section

E 2.4). Tourism, uncontrolled and unsuitable use of

fish populations and coral reefs as well as the intensification

of land use, fish farms and advancing urbanization

in the coastal area are threatening this habitat.

In order to illustrate the biological changes caused by

man, four examples from the terrestrial and aquatic

sphere have been chosen from among the large number

of existing ecosystems. On the one hand, different

factors act on the particular site (Fig. E 1.1-1) and, on

the other hand, they have differing use durations and

intensities. Central Europe (Section E 2.1) serves as

an example of a historic cultivated landscape with a

changing history of use under temperate climatic

conditions favourable for the development of the

landscape. Industrial development and high population

densities have led to Central Europe largely

being shaped by humankind and the natural landscape

has given way to an intensively used cultivated

landscape whose biological diversity is today falling

sharply, after an initial human-induced rise. Shaped

by the last Ice Age in many areas, Central Europe has

soil rich in nutrients and high landscape diversity

because of a changing initial starting situation over a

small area. In contrast to the relatively high landscape

diversity, the natural biodiversity is on the low


Amazonia, the largest area of tropical rainforest in

the world, provides an example of a historic natural

landscape on largely nutrient-poor soil, but with very

high biodiversity (Section E 2.2). After millennia of

just marginal human influence, in recent decades this

region has been undergoing revolutionary change.

The existence of the once largely impenetrable primary

forest area has been threatened by immigration,

population pressure and development measures

that are only controlled by government to a very

small degree. The rapid destruction of the fragile

ecosystems, large areas of which have not yet been

researched, is continuing apace.

As the third largest inland lake in the world Lake

Victoria represents an isolated, species-rich limnic

ecosystem that for centuries was only used extensively

to a slight extent. In the last few decades this

lake has been undergoing a drastic change as a result

of human interventions (Section E 2.3). It serves as

an example of how nutrient status and species diversity

can be changed or destroyed within a very short

time by intensifying land use and introducing alien


The Java Sea, as a warm, tropical shallow sea, represents

an extremely species-rich area typical of shelf

areas that are exposed to high use pressure because

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