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Life on Land

All living organisms and their habitats form an ecological system in which animals and plants in close symbiosis affect natural habitats and surrounding conditions. Biological diversity in various ecosystems has proven important for the Earth’s well-being and future development.

Humans are highly dependent on the proper functioning of the ecosystem for food, water, energy, primary commodities, medicines and other essentials. Biodiversity is a key factor in the ecosystem and is important not only for ethical and moral reasons. For example, if biological depletion passes a threshold value, in the worst case, this can lead to the collapse of entire ecosystems.
The University of Gothenburg has long been internationally successful in research and education related to biodiversity. Its standing has been further strengthened by the formation of the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, a collaboration among eight organisations.

Diversity in a changed climate

Biodiversity is a key factor in how well ecosystems are able to cope with changes in their surrounding and continue to develop positively.
Several research projects are concerned with studying what happens to the diversity of species in different ecosystems as a result of climate change. Researchers are also examining ecosystem services – that is, how ecosystems affect the well-being of people. One project looks at developing methods to find more accurate ways to place a value on ecosystem services, since purely economic measurements are far too blunt. The researchers are working with questions such as for example how one should value a recreation area compared to a parking lot or a shopping centre.
Biological diversity is studied in for example the tropics of South America and Africa, which previously have been poorly documented. Genetic data is being collected and identified and observations of species is being carried out. Researchers and PhD students are also developing methods to handle the large amount of data generated by their own work and the extensive amount of information already available in open databases.
In another research project, in a collaboration with the University of Rwanda, researchers are studying how rising carbon dioxide levels and a warmer climate affect vegetation. By measuring the vegetation at various altitudes in mountain rain forests, for example, they have been able to see that some species have a problem with photosynthesis at higher temperatures.

Ancient cultivated plants are preserved for the future

In Mariestad work has been carried out to categorise and describe methods of vegetative reproduction. Vegetative reproduction refers to plants that have been propagated by grafting, cuttings and root parts. The method is a type of cloning; in other words, it should not promote biodiversity. But it may be the only way to preserve the characteristics of many highly-bred species, such as a fragrance or hybrid flower colours. This often involves the knowledge of old techniques, which are hard to put on paper. In principle, it requires an individual description of every single plant species. In Mariestad a clone archive has been set up, where ancient cultivated plants are preserved for the future. All this is being done to disseminate both plants and knowledge about cultivation to safeguard ecosystems in a sustainable way.

This is Goal 15: Life on Land

Forests cover 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface and in addition to providing food security and shelter, forests are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. Thirteen million hectares of forests are being lost every year while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares.

Source: The UN's Official website for Sustainable Develpoment Goals

Researcher Alexandre Antonelli talks goal 15

The film is produced by The Centre for Environment and Sustainability, GMV.

Page Manager: Erika Hoff|Last update: 3/20/2018

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