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Ecosystem Management and the State of Biodiversity of the Arabian Peninsula -
Synthesis and Constraints of Long-term Protection by Using an Integrated Model of Political and Ecological Processes in Yemen and Saudi Arabia
Andy S. Spiess
GCC Network for Drylands Research and Development (NDRD) www.ndrd.org
University of Hamburg, Department of Economics and Policy, Center for International Relations (Germany)
e-mail: spiess (at) ndrd.org
Arif S. A. Al-Hammadi*
Assistant Professor of Plant Genetics
University of Sana'a, Department of Biology (Yemen)
As a result of demographic, economic, sociopolitical, cultural, technological and other indirect impacts of human-induced drivers, our global biological diversity is declining rapidly. Among the main stressors are climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, overexploitation, homogenization in agriculture, as well as ongoing pollution. In drylands, biodiversity loss is associated with desertification and contributes to global climate change through loss of carbon sequestration capacity and an increase in land-surface albedo.
However, the loss of biodiversity also often reduces the productivity of ecosystems, thereby shrinking the basis of sustainable livelihoods for billions of people, including a disproportionately large section of the poor. Furthermore it destabilizes ecosystems and weakens their ability to deal with natural disasters, such as droughts or human-caused stresses, such as desertification. Given our dependence on food crops, shelter, medicines, other biological resources or even just to maintain our cultural identity, the current accelerated pace of extinction poses a dramatic threat to our human well-being.
Currently, the majority of biodiversity research is concerned with ecological and/or physical conditions, while little attention is given to an integrated understanding of political and ecological processes.
The paper will aim to outline the poorly elaborated linkages between ecosystem management and the state of biodiversity in accordance with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA). Consequently, the analysis will be based on both theoretical considerations and case studies from both countries within the scope of an interdisciplinary holistic approach.
The principal aim will be to identify which processes and institutions may best contribute to the conservation of biodiversity – and thus to the maintenance of ecosystem functions.
The main hypothesis is that the ecological outcome of implementing biodiversity related policies depends on the appropriateness of the selected authority and management systems with regard to the local sociocultural context as well as on the broader economic and political framework.
in PDF format
Paper presented at the Third Saudi Science Conference: New Horizons in Science and their Applications,
King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March, 10-13, 2007