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Update:May 14, 2010

Symposium Report

OECD Co-operative Research Programme sponsored conference
International Symposium for the Convention on Biological Diversity-The role of forest biodiversity in the sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services in agro-forestry, fisheries, and forestry-

Symposium Summary

Symposium summary: "The role of biodiversity in the sustainable use of ecosystem goods and services in agro-forestry, fisheries, and forestry"
Tokyo, Japan, April 26-28, 2010

Organizers: K. Okabe and I. Thompson


A symposium to discuss biodiversity implications in the sustainable management of forests, agro-forests and fisheries was held in Tokyo, Japan, in April 2010. The workshop was sponsored by the OECD in collaboration with Japan FFPRI and Waseda University, the Environmental Research Institute, and hosted at Waseda University. The meeting was organized to further provide information to tenth meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties, taking place in October 2010, and other relevant fora, such as the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Although the conservation of biodiversity has been recognized by society as a crucial element of sustainable agriculture, fisheries and forestry, it has been difficult to develop national and international policies reflecting its importance. This challenge is in part due to the fact that limited relevant methods of promoting, assessing, and monitoring the use of biodiversity have been proposed, which is partly a result of most scientific conferences being organized for academic purposes and being limited to one scientific discipline (e.g., only for ecologists or only for social scientists).

The conference did not focus so much on scientific theories and hypotheses but was intended to show: 1) how forest biodiversity affects ecosystem services which may benefit agriculture, fisheries, and forestry, 2) what causes forest biodiversity loss from ecological, social, or economical aspects, and 3) how scientists from different fields, including ecologists, social scientists, and economists, can together monitor forest biodiversity in order to share their findings with non-scientists, including policy makers by contributing the post-2010 target of CBD. This report provides some of the summary conclusions from the various presentations made at the meeting.

All the expected invited speakers attended and a total of 15 papers were presented at the symposium. All papers presented by these invited speakers have been received by the organizing committee. These will be reviewed and revised by July, collated for publication by August and made available at COP 10 in October.

Summary of discussions about the science/policy interface

Examples of how biodiversity science has had positive effects on policies

Most examples given at the symposium were related directly to human consumption and use:

  • Positive pollination effects of residual and proximate forest stands in agro-forest landscapes, has led to policies requiring more natural forests in agro-forest systems.
  • Pollination failure significantly reduces crop yields - this has had implications for agro-forest landscape and stand structure, such as in CA/SA coffee plantations.
  • Invasive species (IAS) work has resulted in an IAS law in Japan.
  • Work showing there are food chain implications unless managers considering all species in the system, resulting in alternative management practices.
  • While not a government policy, FSC certification has had a very large influence in forest management practices.

The role that science has played in operationalising sustainable forest management (SFM):

  • Improved understanding of the role of biodiversity in supporting the production of forest goods and services.
  • Guidelines have been developed for tropical forest management and the recovery of degraded tropical systems.
  • Importance of managing at large scales, as well as at site scale.
  • Development of key criteria and indicators (global agreements among processes)
  • An understanding that maintaining functional diversity is important in forest systems - understanding the key role of functional species.
  • Many good news case studies were presented of successful implementation and forest recovery (e.g., mining lands in Brazil, Brazil Atlantic forest, San Juan forests, etc.).

There is still a need to improve the role that biodiversity considerations play in policy formation:

  • Improve the understanding of mechanisms by which biodiversity supports and maintains ecosystem goods and services.
  • Indentify and improve the valuation of these services.
  • Improve communication with policy makers and convey key messages on how biodiversity improves ecosystem functioning.
  • We need to be in a position to manage sustainably instead of always making mistakes and having to correct them.
  • Indicators may be useful, but not in the absence of meaningful values (targets ranges) and known thresholds.

Messages and conclusions from the symposium:

The key science messages:

  • Biodiversity supports ecosystem functioning and enhances system resilience.
  • Biodiversity is higher in natural forests > secondary forests > plantations.
  • Increasing biodiversity in plantations increases goods and services.
  • Diversity among community of pollinators increases crop yield.
  • Diversity (heterogeneity) in landscapes that include natural forests (at close distances to crops) increases pollinators and reduces pests via natural controls.
  • Intensifying land use drives extinctions and reduces ecosystem services.
  • Aquatic and near-shore marine ecosystems are affected by land use practices, and so management and adaptive management needs to be more holistic (i.e., consider more than just the forest or aquatic systems individually).
  • Biomass in tropical old forests is substantially greater that in other tropical forest types, this has clear implications for climate change (and REDD plus).
  • Consider and manage the ecosystem, not just the individual resource.

SFM and forest recovery science messages:

  • Plantations can be managed to increase their biodiversity value and enhance goods and service production.
  • Tropical forests can recover and can be assisted to recover, but landscape legacies help considerably
  • 8 SFM principles: complexity, authenticity, continuity, heterogeneity, proximity, redundancy, resilience, and uniqueness
  • Integrate planning on forest landscapes so that all zones (PAs, plantation, extensive managed, aquatic zones) are managed in the context of each other.
  • Always take a multi-disciplinary approach to management and research on forest biodiversity.
  • CBD 'ecosystem approach' may be used to advance SFM, but it is not an operational concept.


  • Biodiversity underpins ecosystem goods and services - degrading the system degrades the goods and services, which highly effect on agro-food production and maybe on fishery.
  • A better understanding of mechanisms by which biodiversity operates improves the capacity to manage adaptively.
  • Communications by scientists must improve to the public, local communities, and to policy makers.
  • Scientists should continue to stress the urgency of the biodiversity issue.
  • Valuing ecosystem services can be a strong argument to policy-makers.
  • Management objectives should be defined by societal demands and the ecology of the ecosystem.
  • Specifically, the proposed CBD strategic target (for SBSTTA 14) of 15% of lands in protected areas needs to be re-evaluated to improve its impact. 



Day I (April 26)


Session 1 - Value of forest biodiversity from an ecosystem service perspective

Session 2 . Ecosystem service flows from forests to other ecosystems and landscapes

Day II (April 27)

Invited seminar

Session 3 . Tactics for using and maintaining forest ecosystem services

Session 4 . Advances in sustainable forest management supported by ecological principles

Day III (April 28)

Session 5 - National and international strategies



Symposium Out-put




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