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Ecosystems and species at risk

Key to charts

All of the above factors, along with the expansion of infrastructure (see chart) and changing climate, influence biodiversity in the region. The loss of forest area leads to decreases in natural capital and in landbased biodiversity in all but a Sustainability First scenario (see chart). In Policy First conditions, improved monitoring and management of critical ecosystems in the protected areas help to conserve biodiversity. However, the continued demands and somewhat higher economic growth than in a Markets First situation work against these changes.

Better knowledge of - and keener concern for - ecological systems foster more effective stewardship of both marine and terrestrial biodiversity in Sustainability First. Innovative approaches help many previously threatened species to recover. From both the scientific and aesthetic perspectives, biodiversity has been given a high value, widening the number of species available for pharmaceutical and food purposes. New areas have also been incorporated into the national protected areas systems for the protection of biodiversity, as well as to provide environmental services and recreation. In both Markets First and Security First scenarios there is likely to be extreme degradation and even destruction or disappearance of unique ecosystems and some endangered species.

Land area impacted by infrastructure expansion: Latin America and the Caribbean (% of total land area)

Increased industrial exploration for oil, gas and minerals accelerates road construction, which in places encourages encroachment into forests and subsequent conversion of land to plantations and farmland. Conversion of tropical rainforest to farmland and for ranching purposes constitutes one of the greatest threats to biodiversity.

Source: GLOBIO (see technical annex)

Natural Capital Index: Latin America and the Caribbean

An index of 100 is the situation when total land area is undomesticated and all pressures are below the minimum threshold (see technical annex). Reduction in the Natural Capital Index indicates habitat loss and increasing pressure on terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.

Source: IMAGE 2.2 (see technical annex)