Rice U. ecologist available to speak about world biodiversity report

Jeff Falk

Jade Boyd

Rice U. ecologist available to speak about world biodiversity report

Rice’s Amy Dunham co-authored 3-year-long study of African biodiversity trends

HOUSTON — (March 23, 2018) — Rice University ecologist Amy Dunham is available to speak about the landmark global biodiversity assessment reports released today by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in Medellín, Colombia.

The reports show that biodiversity — the essential variety of life forms on Earth — continues to decline in every region of the world. In announcing the reports, the IPBES warned that this alarming trend endangers economies, livelihoods, food security and the quality of life of people everywhere.

Amy Dunham

Amy Dunham

Often described as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for biodiversity, IPBES is an independent body open to all U.N. members that was jointly established by more than 100 governments in 2012 in response to concerns about the lack of policy-relevant information to tackle threats to biodiversity.

The four IPBES assessments released today cover all regions of Earth except Antarctica and the open oceans. The assessments are part of an ongoing, three-year effort to assess the health of Earth’s environment and its relevance to human development and well-being.

Dunham, a specialist in tropical forest ecosystems, is among the lead authors of the Africa assessment.

“These reports present an assessment of the state of the world’s biodiversity crisis and its potential impact on people, but they are also a call to action, not only to the world’s governments but to the global public as well,” said Dunham, who was nominated by the U.S. Department of State to participate in the study based on her research on human impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem processes in Africa and Madagascar.

Dunham collaborated with ecologists, biologists and social scientists from more than 30 countries in writing the Africa assessment. The report’s other peer-reviewed assessments cover the Americas, Asia, the Pacific and Europe. The assessments were prepared by more than 550 scientists from 100 countries.

“The overarching goal is to offer global and national leaders the best available evidence and policy advice about how biodiversity loss, mass extinctions and resource depletion are affecting people worldwide,” Dunham said.


CAPTION: Amy Dunham (Photo courtesy of BioSciences@Rice)

This release can be found online at news.rice.edu.

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Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.

About Jade Boyd

Jade Boyd is science editor and associate director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.