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Current State & Trends Assessment

The Condition and Trends Working Group assessed the changing conditions of ecosystems and their services, the causes of changes to ecosystems, and the consequences of ecosystem change for human wellbeing. It considered terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems, and a range of ecosystem services, including food, timber, air quality regulation, nutrient cycling, detoxification, recreation and aesthetic services.

As a contribution to the MA Condition Working Group, the Land Use and Cover Change Project (LUCC) of IGBP/IHDP and the Global Observations of Forest Cover and Land Dynamics (GOFC/GOLD) collaborated with the MA to develop a project showing areas of rapid land cover change over the last two decades.

The Condition and Trends Working Group found that over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel. This has resulted in a substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth. In addition, approximately 60% (15 out of 24) of the ecosystem services it examined are being degraded or used unsustainably, including fresh water, capture fisheries, air and water purification, and the regulation of regional and local climate, natural hazards, and pests.

Assessment report chapters

Contents, Foreword, Preface [pdf, 2224 KB]

01. MA Conceptual Framework [pdf, 408 KB]

02. Analytical Approaches for Assessing Ecosystems and Human Well-being [pdf, 943 KB]

03. Drivers of Change [pdf, 87 KB]

04. Biodiversity [pdf, 1934 KB]

05. Ecosystem Change and Human Wellbeing [pdf, 1340 KB]

06. Vulnerable People and Places [pdf, 738 KB]

07. Freshwater Ecosystem Services [pdf, 1318 KB]

08. Food Ecosystem Services [pdf, 1445 KB]

09. Timber, Fuel, and Fibre Ecosystem Services [pdf, 399 KB]

10. Novel Products and Industries from Biodiversity [pdf, 412 KB]

11. Biological Regulation of Ecosystem Services [pdf, 874 KB]

12. Nutrient Cycling [pdf, 978 KB]

13. Air Quality and Climate [pdf, 2079 KB]

14. Human Infectious Disease Agents [pdf, 559 KB]

15. Waste Processing and Detoxification [pdf, 651 KB]

16. Regulation of Natural Hazards [pdf, 562 KB]

17. Cultural and Amenity Services [pdf, 630 KB]

18. Marine Systems [pdf, 2516 KB]

19. Coastal Systems [pdf, 979 KB]

20. Inland Water Systems [pdf, 544 KB]

21. Forest Systems [pdf, 957 KB]

22. Dryland Systems [pdf, 2262 KB]

23. Island Systems [pdf, 329 KB]

24. Mountain Systems [pdf, 1481 KB]

25. Polar Systems [pdf, 1016 KB]

26. Cultivated Systems [pdf, 1571 KB]

27. Urban Systems [pdf, 536 KB]

28. Synthesis [pdf, 196 KB]

Appendices [pdf, 15069 KB]

Condition Working Group


  • Rashid Hassan, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Robert Scholes, CSIR, South Africa

Technical Support

  • Dr. Neville Ash
    UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre
    Cambridge, UK
  • Jillian Thonell
    UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre
    Cambridge, UK
  • Mampiti Matete
    University of Petoria
    Pretoria, South Africa
© 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment