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No. 71, May 2008
The Global Change NewsLetter is the quarterly newsletter of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). IGBP is a programme of global change research, sponsored by the International Council for Science.

www.igbp.net

Sustainable Livelihoods in a Changing Earth System

Global Environmental Change and the Developing World

Sustainable Livelihoods in aChanging Earth System
that “Africa is one of the most vulnerable continents to climate variability and change because of multiple stresses and low adaptive capability.” A follow-on effect is the added difficulty many developing countries will face in achieving Millennium Development Goals while under pressure from changes in climate. This issue of the Global Change NewsLetter profiles global researchand modelling efforts by researchers in the IGBP network. Their work is aimed at assessing environmental changes and forming the basis for possible adaptation and mitigation strategies, on a global level but in particular for the developing world. As a further outreach tool for the general public and policy makers, IGBP has produced a factsheet on global environmental change in Africa. Please seethe newsletter centrefold for an easy-to-read, up-to-date guide to the major environmental challenges facing Africa, as well as a glossary of related Earth System Science terms and resource links for further information.
Mary Ann Williams
Science Communicator IGBP Secretariet

IGBP’s Congress in Cape Town, South Africa (7 to 9 May 2008) provides a timely focus on the effects— current andfuture—of global environmental change on developing countries in Africa and around the world. Last year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report confirmed

Contents
Science Features
Air Pollution In South America: A Global Change Driver and a Global Connector......................4 A Scientific and Technological Revolution for theAmazon...........................................7 Global Environmental Change and Food Security........................................................10 Earth Systems Modelling: New Insights into the Future of Water, Land and their Interactions.........................................17 Establishing High Altitude Climate Observatory Systems in the Ethiopian Highlands....................................................20

Guest EditorialChallenges in Africa due to Global Environmental Change
It is ironic that Africa, as the birthplace of humankind, seems particularly prone to environmental catastrophe in the modern world. The environmental and social challenges that face the world as a whole seem somehow distilled and focused in Africa, and yet it is often forgotten that this continent is the only one that has retained many ofits terrestrial ecosystems in an almost intact form, despite substantial fragmentation and transformation of landscapes. This is exemplified, for example, by diverse megafauna, a component of biodiversity that has been decimated in other parts of the world, but which persists in Africa. African people and African ecosystems thus embody the concepts of vulnerability and resilience in a way that isnot as clearly evident in other parts of the world. The diversity of people, landscapes, ecosystems, material resources and social and political histories makes it impossible to come to brief conclusions about the threats and opportunities posed by ongoing and future global environmental change on the African continent. The

IGBP Factsheet:
Global Environmental Change andAfrica........................................Centrefold

IGBP and Related Global Change Meetings...................................................22
Pin Board......................................................................23

threats themselves are diverse, while the opportunities are often hard to see. Composite threats of anthropogenic climate change, alien invasive species, land-use change and...
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