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[Course] Opening of the 2022 training course – Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology

The CESAB and the GdR EcoStat organize the third edition of the training course “Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology“. The objective of this five-day course is to train young researchers in reproducibility, software development and version management tools, applied to biodiversity research.

 

This training will be given in French and will take place from November 28 to December 2, 2022 at CESAB in Montpellier. Its price is 200 € for the week – lunch included. Transportation, accommodation and evening meals are at the charge of the participants.

 

You can pre-register for this course by filling in the form available on the event page until Tuesday 26th of July at midnight (CEST). As the number of places is limited, registrations will be confirmed during in September. 

 

 

Pre-registration and programme

[Course] Opening of pre-registration for the training course “Biodiversity knowledge synthesis: an introduction to meta-analyses and systematic reviews” – 2022

This new five-day course, organised by the CESAB – Centre for Biodiversity Synthesis and Analysis – of the FRB,  aims to train young researchers on the methods and techniques of meta-analyses and systematic reviews/maps applied to the field of biodiversity.
 
The training course will be given in French and will take place from 3 to 7 October 2022 at CESAB, in Montpellier.

 

You can pre-register for this course by filling in the form available on the event page until Friday 24th of June 2022 at midnight (CEST). As the number of places is limited, registrations will be confirmed in July. 

 

 

Pré-inscription et programme

[FRB-CESAB] Theory-driven Analysis of Ecological Data – 2022

 

The CESAB – Centre for Biodiversity Synthesis and Analysis – and the GdR TheoMoDive organize the first edition of the training course “Theory-driven Analysis of Ecological Data”. The objective of this five-day course is to train young researchers in analyzing ecological data using theory-driven approaches. 

 

The training course, in English, will take place from the 16th to the 20th of May 2022 in the CESAB premises in Montpellier. Price is 150 € for the week, including lunch. Travel, accommodation and evening meals are at the expense of the participants. 

 

 

Find the training course on GitHub

 

 

A good knowledge of the R software is required.

 

List of organizers (by alphabetical order):
  • Vincent CALCAGNO (INRAE, ISA) 
  • Emanuel FRONHOFER (CNRS, Isem)
  • Isabelle GOUNAND (CNRS, iEES-Paris) 
  • François MASSOL (CNRS, CIIL) 

 

Others speakers: Matthieu BARBIER, Maxime DUBART, Claire JACQUET, Benjamin ROSENBAUM.

[FRB-CESAB] Newsletter 6 CESAB – January 2022

A WORD FROM BRUNO FADY, PRESIDENT OF CESAB’S SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE

 

It is worth recalling that CESAB is an infrastructure of the FRB, a unique and original tool in the French research landscape. It is one of the rare scientific tools that have been created in the world over the last 30 years, based on the observation that the data generated, and collected during short-term projects, that classically finance research in ecology and biodiversity, are not very well used (Baron et al., 2017). We can only welcome this decision, given the scientific production of the working groups funded with the CESAB, the career path of the young scientists who have been part of and are often the core of these working groups, and the recognition of the work published by many private and institutional actors to improve biodiversity protection (see “CESAB in a Zoom in 2021”). 

 

The Covid-19 pandemic pointed out that scientific advances are not the work of an isolated individual, of an (unrecognized) genius who emerges in the midst of a crisis, but rather the work of collectives, manipulating and analyzing data that must be compiled and verified, re-testing and re-verifying hypotheses and concepts. A scientific fact only really becomes so when it finally emerges as an evidence, a consensus (in the statistical sense of the term) for the whole scientific community. At a time when the scientific approach and its results are being questioned by part of society, and beyond a relevant (re)development of data, concepts and their analysis for its scientific discipline, the role of CESAB is to disseminate scientific facts to better understand and protect biodiversity. 

 

After two mandates as president of the CESAB scientific committee, it is time for me to hand over. I would have gladly extended my mandate for a longer period of time as the dynamism of CESAB is so strong, reminding me a little of the enthusiastic state of mind that reigned when it was created more than 10 years ago. But, fortunately, our statutes do not allow it and a new scientific committee will be created in 2022. 

 

The CESAB is now a French institution, widely recognized. Scientists working in the field of ecology and biodiversity are not mistaken, they apply each year in greater numbers to the FRB-CESAB calls for proposals. I hope that the founding members of the FRB, the French public authorities and biodiversity stakeholders will continue to actively support the CESAB, financing at least several working groups per year and the structure itself. With France’s reaffirmed commitments to biodiversity protection at the World Conservation Congress in Marseille in September 2021, I have no doubt that this will be the case. 

 

Happy New Year to all, welcome to the new scientific committee and long live the CESAB.  

Bruno Fady

 

 

More information about CESAB

 

[Course] Opening of pre-registration for the training course “Theory-driven Analysis of Ecological Data” – 2022

This new 5-days training course, organized by the CESAB and the GdR TheoMoDive aims to train young researchers in analyzing ecological data using theory-driven approaches. 

 

The training course, in English, will take place from the 16th to the 20th of May 2022 in the CESAB premises in Montpellier. Price is 150 € for the week, including lunch. Travel, accommodation and evening meals are at the expense of the participants. 

 

You can pre-register for this course by filling in the form available on the event page until Monday 14th of February at midnight (CET). As the number of places is limited, registrations will be confirmed in March. 

 

 

Pre-registration and programme

[FRB-CESAB] Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology – 2021

The CESABand the GdR EcoStat organize the third edition of the training course “Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology“. The objective of this five-day course is to train young researchers in reproducibility, software development and version management tools (e.g. R, git, markdown, tidyverse, docker), applied to biodiversity research.

 

Price is 300 € for the week, including lunch. Travel, accommodation and evening meals are at the expense of the participants. Grants may be awarded to some participants (for an amount not exceeding the registration fee): one grant from the FRB and one grant from the GdR EcoStat (for students belonging to a laboratory member of the GdR). The training course, in French, took place from the 29th of November to the 3rd of December 2021 in the CESAB premises in Montpellier. 

 

The training course can be credited for students registered in the following doctoral schools:

  • GAIA (Montpellier)
  • EGAAL (Rennes)
  • ABIES (Paris)
  • Sciences and agrosciences (Avignon)
  • SEVAB (Toulouse) 
  • Sciences de l’environnement (Aix en Provence)
 
List of speakers (in alphabetical order):
  • Nicolas CASAJUS (FRB-CESAB)
  • Stéphane DRAY (CNRS LBBE)
  • Olivier GIMENEZ (CNRS Cefe)
  • Loreleï GUÉRY (CIRAD PHIM)
  • François GUILHAUMON (IRD Marbec)
  • Nina SCHIETTEKATTE (EPHE Criobe)

[FRB-CESAB] Newsletter 5 CESAB – July 2021

A WORD FROM THE SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR

 

We are living crazy times! The world is struggling with a major pandemic for more than a year, with dramatic consequences in terms of human lives lost and economic costs. But paradoxically, this crisis reduced (temporally) our impact on the planet, and thus might have also some positive consequences on biodiversity. Now that our economies are starting over, the question is now much we will have learned from the Covid crisis and its side-effects on the environmental crisis, so we do not go back to the business-as-usual GIEC scenario and end up losing on both sides.  

 

The scientific community took the opportunity of the Covid crisis to experiment how science could be made through virtual interactions. Synthesis centers have been at the forefront of this “experimentation” as our core activity is to gather scientists from all over the world. We had to rapidly adapt to supporting fully virtual working groups and after a year we can conclude that virtual meetings, while providing a bridge during the pandemic, cannot replace intense, in-person immersion meetings (Srivastava et al., 2021). Science and particularly synthesis science is also about social interactions between people : these direct interactions fuel collective and creative thinking needed for groups to work on what is planned, and more importantly imagine the unplanned. But, as scientists and more importantly environmental scientists, we must be at the forefront of the paradigm shifts our societies need to go through, to mitigate the environmental crisis. We are thus thinking of re-organizing biodiversity synthesis centers in regional hubswhere research teams within each geographic region could meet simultaneously as in-person working groups. These “regional hubs” would also coordinate virtually with each other among synthesis centers. This will not preclude the need to gather whole groups within the lifetime of a project but might significantly reduce the amount of travels and thus the carbon impact of the synthesis working groups. This reorganization of our scientific models will take some time but the price is worth to pay! 

Biodiversity collapse

© Graeme Mackay 

 

The Covid crisis cannot make us forget about the ongoing environmental crisis, it should rather exemplify how humanity can work together to solve a global crisis; it should also exemplify how much costly it is to solve a crisis when the crisis is at its climax. The environmental and biodiversity crisis, are not at their climax, they are only beginning. Let’s hope that we will pay the price needed to stop these crisis before we cannot afford to pay it anymore …  

 

These last six months have been particularly busy for the CESAB team and groups. This newsletter reflect this rich activity and the best is yet to come with many new groups starting this year and next. I would like here to thanks thoroughly the CESAB and FRB staff as well as the CESAB scientific committee for the incredible work they already have achieved this year; and thanks the whole FRB and its founders to make all this possible. With the 4 projects funded in the 2020 call and the upcoming 2 projects funded via our France-Brazil joint call, the CESAB will host 20 active groups by 2022. This strong and positive dynamics reflect our collective willingness to fulfill the need for synthesis in biodiversity science as well as the incredible quality and maturity of the scientific community on this fundamental issue. Synthesis will help us tackle the biodiversity crisis before it reaches its climax and I am proud that, at its small scale, the CESAB is helping toward this aim. 

 

Nicolas Mouquet 

 

 

More information about CESAB

 

[Course] Opening of the 2021 training course – Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology

The CESAB and the GdR EcoStat organize the third edition of the training course “Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology“. The objective of this five-day course is to train young researchers in reproducibility, software development and version management tools, applied to biodiversity research.

 

The training course will take place from the 29th of November to the 3rd of December 2021 in the CESAB premises in Montpellier. The course will be in French. The training course can now be credited for students registered in specific doctoral schools, you can find the list on the event page.

 

You can pre-register for this course by filling in the form available on the event page until Saturday 31st July at midnight (CEST). As the number of places is limited, registrations will be confirmed during the first week of September. Note that the course can now give you credit in specific French doctoral schools. 

 

 

Pre-registration and programme

[FRB-CESAB] Newsletter 4 CESAB – January 2021

A WORD FROM THE NEW FRB’S PRESIDENT: DENIS COUVET

 

FRB-Denis-Couvet-HD

Denis Couvet

The French Foundation for Biodiversity Research’s ambition is to better understand the dynamics of biodiversity, in interaction with those of societies. Its vocation is to build, with all actors, public and private, civil society, approaches based on nature and therefore biodiversity. Another main concern is to know how to anticipate the impacts, opportunities and unexpected effects… of these approaches, in an integrative and systemic framework. The synthesis center created by the FRB, CESAB, is a tool of excellence to meet these different objectives.

 
By bringing together the best international scientific teams around scientific synthesis, combining data, models and concepts, the work of CESAB should enable us to better understand the functioning of biodiversity, its state and its dynamics, from local to global scales. By shedding some light on the organization of ecological systems and socio-ecosystems, CESAB should help us address the complexity of these systems and the conditions of their resilience.
 
For the coming year, I hope that the FRB’s team, which I have had the honor of chairing since January 1, and the scientific community will be able to work collectively on ambitious developments and exciting actions. 
 
Denis Couvet,
President of the French Foundation for Biodiversity Research
 
The FRB-CESAB team’s would like to collectively thank Jean-François Silvain, president of the FRB for the last 7 years. His contribution to the CESAB was invaluable and we will miss his insight and guidance. 
 

 

More information about CESAB

 

The CESAB is still active!

Despite the health situation, which does not allow researchers to meet at the CESAB in Montpellier, the groups remain active and work remotely. This is the case this week for the participants of the projects FREE and RED-BIO. 

 

 

FREE – about functional rarity 

 

FREE began in 2018 and works on functional rarity: how to define this rarity, how to quantify it and how to identify its causes and consequences. FREE ‘s participants have recently published, in collaboration with researchers from different institutes, an article based on data collected within the project and in which they show that ecologically rare species of birds and terrestrial mammals are also the most threatened (see the press release “Double jeopardy for ecologically rare birds and terrestrial mammals“).

Led by Cyrille Violle (CNRS) and Caroline Tucker (University of Colorado, USA), the group met (online!) this week to catch up on the various work in progress within the project.

 

 

 

RED-BIO –  about spatial ecology and ecological networks 

 

RED-BIO started this year and the participants have not yet had the opportunity to hold their first meeting at the CESAB in Montpellier. However, they were able to organize their first virtual meeting with the support of the FRB’s CESAB team and the Canadian Institute for Ecology and Evolution (CIEE). This is an opportunity for the participants to discuss the project’s progress and its main research question: under which conditions, the interactions between biological communities and the environment could generate spatial heterogeneity in abiotic resources?

The participants cover a wide geographical range from Vancouver, Canada, to Montpellier, France, and this first meeting allowed to clearly see the diversity of ideas within the group, but above all to detect elements of convergence. This project was selected from the joint call SYNERGY in collaboration with the CIEE and is led by Isabelle Gounand (CNRS) and Eric Harvey (Université de Montréal).

 

Red-Bio_W1
First meeting of the Red-Bio group

 

These meetings allow the FRB-CESAB’s groups to continue working on their projects and several scientific articles have been published in the last few months, some of them in high impact journals as Nature Communication, Global Change Biology,… see all the articles here. CESAB’s main objective is to advance knowledge in order to improve our understanding of ecosystems and their biodiversity and thus ensure their effective management and conservation.

[FRB-CESAB] Second edition of the training course “Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology”

The FRB’s Center for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversiry (CESAB) and the GDR EcoStat organised the second edition of the training course Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology online. The training took place from the 2nd to the 6th of November 2020. 

 

23 students, engineers and researchers from all over France were able to attend this training course online. 

 

Nicolas CASAJUS (FRB-Cesab), Stéphane DRAY (CNRS LBBE), Olivier GIMENEZ (CNRS Cefe), François GUILHAUMON (IRD Marbec), Nina SCHIETTEKATTE (EPHE Criobe) presented the essential tools for reproducible research (git/GitHub, rmarkdown, drake, R packages, etc.). Participants were also able to put into practice the knowledge acquired at the beginning of the training through projects in sub-groups on the Thursday and the Friday. 

 

Subscribe to the newsletter of the FRB and its CESAB to be kept informed about the next edition of the training course.

[FRB-CESAB] Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology – 2020

The CESAB and the GDR EcoStat organize the second edition of the training course “Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology“. The objective of this five-day course, in French, is to train young researchers in reproducibility, software development and version management tools (e.g. R, git, markdown, tidyverse, docker), applied to biodiversity research.

The registration fee is 100 € for the week and will be used to compensate the speakers. Students from laboratories member of the GDR EcoStat can apply for financial support from the GDR.

 

 

The training course took place from 2 to 6 November 2020.

 

 

 

You can access the training course’s slides as well as the R codes

 

List of speakers (in alphabetical order):

  • Nicolas CASAJUS (FRB-CESAB)
  • Stéphane DRAY (CNRS LBBE)
  • Olivier GIMENEZ (CNRS Cefe)
  • François GUILHAUMON (IRD Marbec)
  • Nina SCHIETTEKATTE (EPHE Criobe)

 

[FRB-CESAB] The training course ecoinfofair2020 is hosted at CESAB

Within the framework of the research infrastructure “National hub for biodiversity data” (in French PNDB: Pôle national des données de biodiversité), the research and actions in progress on making data FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable – propose the implementation of products and services, around the biodiversity data, “as FAIR and open as possible”.

 

Thanks to the support of the DevLOG network (network of actors in the field of software development within Higher Education and Research), the PNDB is organizing workshops open to all, including an introductory training aspect.

 

This workshop takes place from October 19 to 21 from multiple remote sites (Concarneau, Paris and CESAB in Montpellier).

 

 

More information

[FRB-CESAB] Newsletter 3 CESAB – July 2020

A WORD FROM THE CESAB SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR

 

FRB Cesab Nicolas MouquetNicolas Mouquet

 

We have all been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if it is too early to decipher the conditions that triggered the emergence of the coronavirus, it is, as other major epidemics, related to the environmental and biodiversity crisis we are experiencing.

 

Prevention could have been possible but they waited for the crisis to appear before acting. Prevention should be at the basis of our collective behavior, prevention and not fear! Prevention requires that we take the time to understand the world and synthesize complex information into meaningful and useful collective knowledge. What is true for the pandemics is true for the ongoing biodiversity crisis. The need for synthesis has never been so strong, synthesis is the only way of fueling appropriate actions. Furthermore, the timescale needed to achieve adequate and reliable synthesis is far longer than the rapid appearance of human-caused crisis. Synthesis must happen before!

 

Edward O. Wilson once said that the world would be run by “synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely”. For once, he was wrong, the world is not run by synthesizers, it is run by people that base their actions on incomplete information, are behind the limes, do not think critically and do not make wise choices ! This is why, today, we need synthesizers more than ever, and yet I do not see very much of collective effort to support synthesis in the agenda of research funding agencies. At our very small scale, synthesis centres, such as CESAB, are trying to promote the art of synthesis in biodiversity science but the level of funding we are receiving is inversely proportional to the importance of our mission.

 

After every crisis, we hear voices saying that the “world will never be the same again”. This is not true, a simple synthesis of crises during the 20th century show the exact opposite pattern. However, this does not mean that we have to give up, but rather that we need to understand and remember: we must synthesize !

 

Nicolas Mouquet

 

More information about CESAB

 

[Course] Opening of the 2020 course – Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology

The CESAB and the GDR EcoStat organize the second edition of the training course “Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology“. The objective of this five-day course is to train young researchers in reproducibility, software development and version management tools, applied to biodiversity research.

 

The training course will take place from 2 to 6 November 2020 in the CESAB premises in Montpellier. The course will be in French.

 

You can pre-register for this course by filling in the form available on the event page. Pre-registrations will close on Friday 17th of July at midnight (CEST). As the number of places is limited, registrations will be confirmed during the first week of September.

 

 

[FRB-CESAB] Newsletter 2 CESAB – January 2020

A WORD FROM THE CESAB SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR

 

2020 will be the year of biodiversity! The biodiversity crisis has become central in the international agenda after the publication by the IPBES of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in 2019. 2020 will see major events with the IUCN world conservation congress to be held in Marseille in June and the COP15 Biodiversity in Kunming, among many others.

 

Biodiversity synthesis centres have fueled this dynamic by promoting the scientiflc synthesis on biodiversity and helping researchers to adapt to the exponential increase in available data and to the globalization of scientiflc ecology. We can be proud of what have been achieved but are also concerned about what still need to be done and how we will contribute to assess the knowledge gaps on biodiversity.

 

2019 have been a year of transition for the CESAB, we have moved to Montpellier and have created a new ecosystem, integrating many new partners, and experiencing new tools to promote biodiversity synthesis. We have launched joint calls with other synthesis centers (German sDiv, Canadian CIEE) and French scientiflc actors (AFB, Labex Cemeb), have organized a training course for young scientists on reproductibility in ecological data science and held an international conference on large scale conservation in Montpellier. This has been possible thanks to the help of the incredible FRB team dedicated to CESAB and more generally of the FRB, and to the dynamism of our many ongoing working groups.

 

2020 will be the year we consolidate this ecosystem, open new ambitious calls for synthesis groups and amplify the momentum. We now have the trust and support from our founding members and partners and are trying to work together to make CESAB contribute even more to the biodiversity synthesis!

 

Best wishes for this new year.

Nicolas Mouquet

 

More information about CESAB

 

[FRB-CESAB] Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology – 2019

The CESAB and the GDR EcoStat organize the training course “Data toolbox for reproducible research in computational ecology“. The objective of this five-day training is to train young researchers in reproducibility, software development and version management tools (e.g. R, git, markdown, tidyverse, docker), applied to biodiversity research.

 

 

The training course will take place from 2 to 6 December 2019 in the CESAB premises in Montpellier. The course will be in French. Price is 350 € for the week, including lunch. Travel, accommodation and evening meals will be at the expense of the participants. Students from laboratories member of the GDR EcoStat may apply for financial support from the GDR.

 
 
 
List of speakers (in alphabetical order):
  • Nicolas CASAJUS (FRB-CESAB)
  • Stéphane DRAY (CNRS LBBE)
  • Olivier GIMENEZ (CNRS Cefe)
  • Loreleï GUÉRY (IRD Marbec)
  • François GUILHAUMON (IRD Marbec)
  • Nina SCHIETTEKATTE (Criobe)

[FRB-CESAB] First CESAB training course

From 2 to 6 December, the FRB’s Center for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversiry (CESAB) and the GDR EcoStat organised a training course entitled Data Toolbox for Reproducible Research in Computational Ecology.

 

 

17 students, engineers and researchers from all over France came to attend this training at CESAB’s premises in Montpellier.

 

Nicolas CASAJUS (FRB-Cesab), Stéphane DRAY (CNRS LBBE), Olivier GIMENEZ (CNRS Cefe), Loreleï GUÉRY (IRD Marbec), François GUILHAUMON (IRD Marbec), Nina SCHIETTEKATTE (EPHE Criobe) presented the essential tools for reproducible research (git/GitHub, rmarkdown, drake, R packages, etc.). Participants put into practice the knowledge acquired at the beginning of the training through projects in sub-groups. Everyone left satisfied with this experience.

 

Building on this success, a second edition will be organised in 2020. Subscribe to the newsletter of the FRB and its CESAB to be kept informed.

 

Formation Cesab décembre 2019

[FRB-CESAB] Two calls open early December 2019

  • Joint call FRB-CESAB / CIEE : launch December 3, 2019

Biodiversity in a time of global change

 

The Canadian Institute of Ecology and Evolution (CIEE) and the Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB) of the French Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB) offer a joint call for working groups that include researchers based primarily in Canada and France, on the topic “Biodiversity in a time of Global Change”.

 

Two working groups of eight researchers will be funded for two meetings each (the first one in 2020 in Vancouver – Canada; the second one in 2021 in Montpellier – France).

 

The full proposals should be sent by e-mail before 31/01/2020 and the selection will be made by the 06/03/2020.

 

  • Joint call FRB-CESAB / CeMEB: launch December 9, 2019

Short term stays for foreign researchers (2-3 months)

 

The CeMEB LabEx (Mediterranean Environment and Biodiversity Centre) and the Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB) of the French Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB) offer financial support for hosting 2 foreign researchers for short stays at the CESAB in Montpellier (from 2 months minimum to 3 months maximum).

 

The full proposals should be sent by e-mail before 12/03/2020 and the selection will be made by the 15/05/2020.

Call for an ambitious COP 15 Biodiversity and for bridging the Rio conventions

The 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be held in China at the end of 2020. Countries member of the convention will be invited to announce specific commitments to biodiversity conservation.

It would be dramatic if the different states gathered on this occasion could only agree on a lower common denominator in terms of commitments and actions and if the decisions of the COP were not up to the challenge of the collapse of biodiversity.

States must commit to clear, precise, multiple and quantifiable actions, giving priority to the rapid and effective reduction of major pressure factors, while developing large-scale protection actions in order to rapidly safeguard what remains of biodiversity and restore its broad capacity for evolution.

Private stakeholders must also support this approach by working on reducing their sector-specific pressures on biodiversity.

Finally, citizens must be the driving force behind a major change in the way we consume, perceive and use biodiversity.

 

The two platforms of global scientific expertise, which are considering the future of biodiversity (IPBES) and of climate (IPCC), generally agree on the urgent need to quickly revise unsustainable production processes that aggravate both biodiversity erosion and climate change.

 

IPBES points out in its global assessment of the state of biodiversity presented in May 2019, that biodiversity is diminishing at an increasing rate, leading to the degradation of soil and ecosystem functioning. As a result, the services that humans receive from biodiversity are also declining rapidly, threatening the future of our societies. The direct drivers behind this degradation of biodiversity are well known and their respective importance has been assessed: land-use change at the expense of poorly humanized ecosystems and biotopes; exploitation, and often overexploitation, of marine and land resources; increasing chemical and physical pollution; climate change; and the multiplication of invasive alien species. All these drivers are aggravating each other and are also reinforced by indirect drivers: human population growth and the full range of socio-economic and political processes that lead to unsustainable consumption of the planet’s resources.

IPBES stresses the multiple negative impacts of intensive agricultural production systems on biodiversity, two excesses of which are now well documented. On the one hand, the excessive use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers; and on the other hand, the increase in the production of plant-based proteins for animal feed which induces long-distance trade and relocates the negative impacts in regions with high biodiversity, such as tropical forests. Projections by 2050 show that without major lifestyle changes, the erosion of biodiversity and the loss of services that humans receive from the living world will continue.

 

Since the publication of the IPBES Global Assessment, the IPCC has produced a report on the links between climate change and land use, including through agricultural and forestry activities. The key messages of this report are consistent with those found in the IPBES assessment on land degradation and restoration published in 2018. The IPCC report highlights the importance of the contribution of the entire world food system to the production of greenhouse gases and recalls that changes in land cover, use and condition influence regional and global climates. It also recalls that climate change is a source of increased risks to the world food system and biodiversity, risks that will become even greater as food consumption, water needs and the consumption of multiple resources continue to increase. The IPCC calls for actions to adapt to and reduce climate change by highlighting the co-benefits that biodiversity can expect from them. The IPCC therefore calls for a sustainable management of soils and ecosystems as the only way to halt their degradation, maintain their productivity and contribute to the adaptation and the reduction of climate change. The IPCC emphasizes the need to reduce food waste and other waste while also accompanying the change in diets. Finally, the IPCC stresses the need to act quickly and to focus on the short term. It also highlights in its projections the need to increase forest areas.

 

In addition, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the third of the Rio Conventions, was held in India in September 2019, calling for a halt to land degradation and for its restoration to preserve ecosystem functioning and services, and to enhance food security. In the New Delhi Declaration calling for investment in land conservation and for unlocking all opportunities for action, COP Desertification underlines the importance of taking into account land management solutions against global warming and for biodiversity conservation.

 

Finally, the New York Declaration on Forests initiative, initiated in 2014 by major research institutions, think-tanks and NGOs, noting the continuing deforestation, particularly of tropical rainforests, solemnly called for the protection and restoration of the world’s forests to preserve their biodiversity and carbon sequestration capacity, thus joining the COPs in their call for governments to engage in systemic change.

 

In all cases, the findings of these bodies relay the warnings made by scientists over a long period of time, and their recommendations have been acknowledged or endorsed by a majority of countries around the world. Therefore governments cannot say that the warning has not been given and that the urgency of the necessary actions in favor of biodiversity has not been highlighted. Some countries quickly made commitments, such as France which announced a significant increase in the area of national protected areas, a major initiative, but which only partially meets the needs for essential actions, particularly in the short term.

 

However, significant differences of opinion persist when it comes to strategies and options to restore biodiversity or to mitigate climate change.

 

This is the case, for example, of the inclusion of the large development of energy crop areas in the IPCC scenarios, which, on a large scale, would have a major negative impact on biodiversity – and to which IPBES drew the attention of decision-makers. The same applies to the development of BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) energy technologies or the development of intensive afforestation strategies. It is on these topics that exchanges between climate and biodiversity experts on one hand and between the various international strategic and political coordination mechanisms (UN conventions and agencies) on the other hand should be the most significant. It is crucial to recall that the fight against climate change is not an end in itself, but an urgent and indispensable means to enable the living, human and non-human, to continue their pathways of life and evolution. The fight against climate change cannot therefore be implemented by worsening the biodiversity situation. More than ever, FRB’s slogan, “biodiversity and climate, same fight”, remains clearly relevant.

 

Beyond COP 15 Biodiversity, COP Desertification or the forthcoming COP Climate, the Conferences of the Parties of the three Rio Conventions must move forward together. It raises the question of the necessary global coordination of actions that are likely to put the planet on a pathway ensuring both the future of human populations and of all living beings on mainland, islands and in the seas, without simple, caricatural solutions and while respecting freedoms and cultural differences.

Facing global challenges, it is no longer possible to continue to think in silos: climate on one hand, biodiversity or desertification on the other, and to allow solutions to emerge that will be poor compromises, not allowing all the major global challenges to be addressed simultaneously and with the same level of priority.

 

Several alternatives are possible to make solutions recommended by international bodies relevant to all the major challenges we are facing:

 

  • Merge the three Rio Conventions into a single Environment Convention that would address all environmental issues under the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP. This would make possible to consider jointly and in full synergy the challenges of climate, land desertification and biodiversity, and to provide decision-makers with suggestions for commitments and actions that would not favor the solution of one problem at the expense of others. It would also provide a stronger direct link to an updated version of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which could then be called the Goals for a Sustainable Planet. The scientific and technological subsidiary bodies (SBSTA and SBSTTA) of the conventions would also merge. Simultaneously, it should be decided whether or not to institutionalize the relationships between the scientific expertise platforms, IPCC and IPBES, and to ensure that the merger of the three conventions, by creating a very large structure that is difficult to manage in practice, does not break their current internal dynamics.
  • Maintain the three existing COPs and establish, under UNEP, a coordinating umbrella structure to harmonize and make the decisions of the COPs more coherent and reliable. This could be a simple structure combining the secretariats of the conventions and the heads of the associated scientific expertise structures. As in the previous option, international platforms of scientific expertise would be invited to collaborate much more effectively than at present. Such an umbrella structure must be operated with a strong need for reactivity.
  • Establish a new way of operating between the Conventions so that they rely on the work of all dedicated scientific and technological support bodies (SBSTA and SBSTTA) and international scientific expertise platforms, in particular IPCC and IPBES. This option would require institutionalizing an independent platform of scientific expertise on desertification, such as the Global Soil Partnership, currently under FAO.
  • Formally and rapidly establish operational collaboration between all scientific and technical support bodies and scientific expertise platforms such as the IPCC and IPBES so that no report from one or the other is published without having benefited from the validation of the other expert groups. This may involve the publication of joint reports or an assessment of the recommendations made to the states, with a systematic exclusion of solutions that would undermine the challenges of fighting climate change, biodiversity erosion or desertification. The latter option would be the easiest to implement and the conventions would be able to work from a base of expertise that is not necessarily common, but whose recommendations have been aligned as much as possible.

 

In any case, it is becoming urgent to promote strong scientific consensus that can form the basis of ambitious international decisions going beyond sectoral visions and political divisions affecting our future and the future of all life forms.

[FRB-CESAB] Newsletter 1 CESAB – July 2019

A WORD FROM THE SCIENTIFIC DIRECTOR

 

FRB Cesab Nicolas Mouquet

Nicolas Mouquet


The CESAB has moved to Montpellier after 8 years of in Aix-en-Provence. 2018 has been a year of transition and we are still adjusting to our new environment in 2019! Moving has been an incredible challenge and I want to thank here the former CESAB director and staff as well as the FRB for having worked hard to make it happen.By bringing together the best international scientific teams around scientific synthesis, combining data, models and concepts, the work of CESAB should enable us to better understand the functioning of biodiversity, its state and its dynamics, from local to global scales. By shedding some light on the organization of ecological systems and socio-ecosystems, CESAB should help us address the complexity of these systems and the conditions of their resilience.
 
Moving to Montpellier is for the CESAB a great opportunity to evolve and match the new challenges of biodiversity science. There is a real need for us to secure more funding for open calls but also to open our calls and the CESAB to other actors concerned with biodiversity research and conservation. IPBES 7th Plenary in Paris has been an incredible catalyzer for biodiversity science, and I hope we will meet together the challenge we face to provide both an understanding of biodiversity dynamics and large-scale predictions of its fate in a changing world.
 

For us, these last months have been the occasion for rethinking our functioning and to test some new tools and initiatives, we have hired new staff, launched two specific calls: one with the AFB (French Agency for Biodiversity) and one joint call with the sDiv (German Biodiversity Synthesis Center), renewed our scientific comity, are working to propose formation for students, and have done our best to help the ongoing and new CESAB groups. This has been done in only few months, which illustrates our collective motivation to continue the CESAB and to help more than ever the scientific community working on biodiversity. I want here to thanks the new FRB staff dedicated to CESAB without whom I would never have survived to this first half of 2019 and all FRB team for their trust and help! I also want to make homage to Eric Garnier and Alison Specht, former scientific directors of the CESAB, who have worked to make the CESAB a leading research organization with a high scientific level and international influence.

 

Biodiversity centers are the right tools to meet the challenges we face with the biodiversity crisis. I really hope 2019 will be the year when public and private actors concerned with the state of biodiversity, will realize how much we have a collective responsibility to give these centers the means they need to support the science of biodiversity synthesis! 

 

Nicolas Mouquet

 
 

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