Day 4,228: Biodiversity in the Americas

Day 4,243: International Biodiversity Day
May 20, 2018
Landscape Conservation
Day 4,215: Landscape Conservation
June 18, 2018

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Day 4,228: Biodiversity in the Americas

“Participative governance processes and institutions can contribute to the design and implementation of effective conservation and sustainable use plans.”

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Blog in Brief

Biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided to people are in decline in the western hemisphere. A multi-sector, participatory approach to integrated planning, design, and delivery is needed to transition to sustainability.


Featured Post

A recent report ― the Regional Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for the Americas (IPBES, 2018) ― states biodiversity and the condition of ecosystems in many parts of the western hemisphere are declining, resulting in a reduction in nature’s contributions to people, their quality of life, and human well-being. We continue from our previous blog ― Day 4,243: International Day for Biodiversity ― laying the foundation for landscape conservation design.

The Americas have 40% of the global capacity to produce nature-based services that people use, but only 13% of the worldwide human population. Nevertheless, the majority of countries in the Americas are using those services more intensively than the global average and are exceeding nature’s ability to restore them.

Almost a quarter of the 14,000 species that have been thoroughly studied in the Americas are thought to be at a high risk of extinction. Habitat conversion, fragmentation, and over-exploitation are the greatest drivers of biodiversity loss and the loss of ecosystem function. Unsustainable agriculture and climate change are projected to be significant drivers in the future. Indirect drivers of change include population and economic growth, inequity, and weak governance structures. 

Although countries in the Americas possess environmental policies that aim to reduce pressure on biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, they generally have not been well-coordinated. As a result, most countries will achieve few Aichi Biodiversity Targets by 2020.

Establishing new protected areas and restoring degraded habitats have proven to be effective measures in conserving biodiversity and ecosystem function, but identifying strategies for sustainably using resources and managing systems within multi-functional landscapes (i.e., beyond protected areas) continues to be a top priority. When designed and implemented across sectors, such strategies can be more effective and efficient.

Participatory, deliberative processes, and the partnerships that develop from them, are governance approaches that can conserve biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people, and facilitate a shift to a lasting and sustainable future.


IPBES. (2018). Summary for policymakers of the regional assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services for the Americas of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. J. Rice, C.S. Seixas, M.E. Zaccagnini, M. Bedoya-Gaitán, N. Valderrama, C.B. Anderson, M.T.K. Arroyo, M. Bustamante, J. Cavender-Bares, A. Díaz-de-León, S. Fennessy, J. R. García Marquez, K. Garcia, E.H. Helmer, B. Herrera, B. Klatt, J.P. Ometo, V. Rodriguez Osuna, F.R. Scarano, S. Schill and J. S. Farinaci (eds.). IPBES Secretariat: Bonn, Germany. 35 pages.

Further Reading


Cardinale et al., (2012) provide a synthesis of two decades of research on biodiversity and ecosystem function loss, the associated impacts of such loss on ecosystem services, and the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services to humanity. They close with a consideration of how the next generation of biodiversity science can better serve policy and management.

Cardinale, B. J., Duffy, J. E., Gonzalez, A., Hooper, D. U., Perrings, C., Venail, P., … & Kinzig, A. P. (2012). Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature, 486(7401), 59. 10.1038/nature11148. Retrieved from

Participatory Design

Campellone et al., (2018) propose a heuristic for landscape conservation design: the iCASS Platform. The iCASS Platform is an innovation systems framework: a holistic, yet flexible systems-based approach that encourages innovation to solve societal challenges. It consists of five attributes – innovation, convening stakeholders, assessing current and plausible future landscape conditions, spatial design, and strategy design – and nine principles. The iCASS Platform emphasizes a participatory design process that is inclusive, interdisciplinary, interactive, and informative. The authors’ intention is to pivot from single-institution, siloed assessment and planning to stakeholder-driven, participatory design that leads to collaborative decision-making and extensive landscape conservation.

Campellone, R. M., Chouinard, K. M., Fisichelli, N. A., Gallo, J. A., Lujan, J. R., McCormick, R. J., Miewald, T. A., Murray, B. A., Pierce, D. J., & Shively, D. R. (2018). The iCASS Platform: Nine principles for landscape conservation design. Landscape and Urban Planning, 176(2018), 64-74.

Halskov & Hansen (2015) synthesize ten years of participatory design (PD) research and propose five fundamental research contributions: PD in new domains, PD methods, PD and new technology, theoretical contributions to PD, and basic concepts in PD. They identify how participation is defined and how it’s conducted in experimental design cases.

Halskov, K., & Hansen, N. B. (2015). The diversity of participatory design research practice at PDC 2002–2012. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 74, 81-92.

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Rob Campellone
Just an average Joe trying to help save the world from the Anthropocene.
Rob Campellone
Rob Campellone
Just an average Joe trying to help save the world from the Anthropocene.


    • Avatar Rob Campellone says:

      Thanks, Jimmy–RE: “where are the stakeholders”…generally speaking, I think they engage when a bridging organization convenes them; and that’s the appropriate (…and incredibly important role) of a bridging entity: to bring the stakeholders together, facilitate their sustainability discussion, and coordinate their design work. Is any of that occurring at the speed and effectiveness we need it to be? Definitely not.