Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

302 I Global biosphere policy

Box I 1.1-1

Guidelines for the multi-functional use of

renewable resources

Guideline: Preservation or restoration of the regulatory function

of intensively used ecosystems

Multifunctional use of renewable resources reduces biogeochemical

stresses on managed systems and their neighbouring

systems by

– reducing the internal decoupling of biogeochemical

cycles and energy flows,

– synchronising processes to breakdown, re-form and

build up living and dead biomass,

– minimizing soil degradation (erosion, physical and

chemical degradation),

– eliminating undesirable biochemical deficits,

– establishing balanced biogeochemical regimes,

– avoiding eutrophication and toxification from both nonpoint

and point sources,

– monitoring system status and stress.

Guideline: Preservation or restoration of the habitat function

of ecosystems

Multifunctional use of renewable resources conserves biological

diversity at the species and biotope levels and thus

increases the elasticity and resilience of ecosystems by

– diversifying use in both temporal and spatial terms,

– establishing mixed stocks and diverse crop rotation,

– preserving site diversity,

– creating non-used buffer areas and protected zones

(temporary and regional),

– avoiding as far as possible the use of biocides,

– protecting endangered species,

– adapting use to match the productivity of stocks,

– clarifying dependencies and interactions among communities,

– monitoring and characterizing communities of organisms

and their changes.

Guideline: Long-term preservation or restoration of the use

function of ecosystems, giving consideration to economic and

ecological parameters

Multifunctional use of renewable resources leads to forms

of food, fodder and raw materials production in which

energy flows and biogeochemical cycles are optimized. This

is achieved by

– reducing material and energy losses (closed-loop materials

and waste management),

– reactivating or promoting self-regulatory processes,

– optimizing plant and soil protection,

– minimizing resource consumption through optimization

of use strategies,

– expanding the spectrum of species used,

– exercising caution in the use of non-site-appropriate,

non-adapted or alien species.

Guideline: Preservation or restoration of the cultural and

social functions of ecosystems

Use of renewable resources leads to social stabilization of

indigenous societies and serves the interests of the population

as a whole by

– safeguarding jobs and income,

– conserving rural cultivated landscapes and appropriate

economic structures,

– conserving historically developed social structures,

– safeguarding leisure and recreational use,

– preserving cultural heritage.

risk in the context of global change.This risk has been

categorized by the Council in previous reports as the

‘Cassandra’ risk type (Chapter B; for risk classification

cf WBGU, 2000a). Due to the delayed effect that

is associated with this risk type, warning voices are

seldom heard because the damaging impacts they are

warning against are not tangible or even conceivable

in the present. As was detailed in the Council’s risk

report (WBGU, 2000a), voluntary commitments on

the part of global players and international coordination

are the key instruments with which to strengthen

long-term responsibility vis-à-vis Cassandra risks. It

is also in that sense that the global biological imperatives

presented in Sections I 1.1–1.5 and the guard

rail given as a conclusion in Section I 1.6 (to designate

10–20 per cent of the worldwide land area for

nature conservation) are to be interpreted: they can

constitute elements in a global strategy that should

be taken up by existing international institutions and

incorporated into their programmes of action.

I 1.1

First biological imperative: preserve the integrity

of bioregions

Applied at the bioregional level (Section E 3.9) the

guard rail concept means two things. First of all, it

makes sense to place use restrictions on certain areas

(Type N, Section E 3.3.1) the focus of which should be

the preservation of regulatory functions or the provision

of ecosystem services (eg renunciation of economic

use of slope forests because of their importance

in protecting against erosion). In addition,

there are protected areas of supra-regional or even

global significance that are part of a global guard rail

(Section I 1.3). These are designated at national or

global level, but must also be binding on the bioregion.

Secondly, however, in zones that are suited to

extensive or intensive use in agriculture or farming

(types M or E; Sections E 3.3.3 and E 3.3.4 respectively),

guard rails might be crossed if, for example,

the groundwater is endangered as a result of excessive

fertilization or eutrophication is triggered in

adjoining aquatic ecosystems, or unsuitable agricul-

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