Studying the issue areas of importance, which are: (1) land use/land cover change and desertification; (2) global climate change; (3) stratospheric ozone depletion; (4) transboundary air pollution; (5) conservation of biological diversity; (6) deforestation; (7) oceans and their living resources; (8) trade and the environment; and (9) population.
Demographic trends and factors are integrated into the ongoing study of environmental change, using the expertise of international, regional and national research networks and of local communities to first study the human dimensions of environmental change and then to identify vulnerable areas.
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends developing research on human attitudes and behaviour as driving forces central to an understanding of the causes and consequences of environmental change and resource use.
The First Open Meeting of the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Community was held at Duke University (Durham, North Carolina, USA) in June, 1995. The purpose was to promote exchanges of information on current research, teaching and outreach, to encourage networking in this field, and to attract social scientists, humanists and others not previously involved in human dimensions work. There were special plenary sessions on leading issues, including international institutional and global environmental change; scientific analysis, perceptions and decision-making; property rights and global environmental change; industrial restructuring and sustainable development; land use/cover modelling and analysis; and human migration and global environmental change.
The International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (IGBP) has established a core project on Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE). The objectives of GCTE are (1) to predict the effects of changes in climate, atmospheric composition and land use on terrestrial ecosystems, including agricultural and production forest systems; and (2) top determine how these effects lead to feedbacks to the atmosphere and the physical climate system.