This paper, just released by the U. S. Army USACE of Engineers (USACE) Institute for Water Resources (IWR), is a digest and critical review of a recently published report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) on the Americas (referred to here as the “Americas report”). It is one of four world regional reports that collectively update the U. N. sponsored “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment” of 2005, and its primary goal is to inform policy and decision-making at the highest levels.
The Americas report covers the status of biodiversity, ecosystem services and other contributions of nature to human wellbeing. This also includes threats and policy issues in four sub regions. The material in the Americas report is relevant to all missions of the USACE, especially the environmental and restoration missions, and is particularly significant because it is an update of the widely referenced 2005 U. N. sponsored “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment” report. As well, the Americas report introduces potentially influential changes in terminology and concepts, and compiles information of potential use in decision-making at the highest levels of government.
The primary strength of the report is its comprehensive assessment of the status of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the Americas. Its primary weaknesses and controversies reflect the often confused state of knowledge about natural ecosystem services, particularly concerning the clarity of discussions about the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem services, the values of ecosystem services, and the introduction of new controversies associated with changes in terminology and approach. The citation for the Americas report can be found in the references section under IPBES (2018).