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  • The state of the planet

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) is a US$21 million, four-year effort to give the Earth a comprehensive health check.

Instead of evaluating how ecosystems respond to just one environmental concern, such as climate change, the MEA aims to work out the interaction between such factors as changes in land use, loss of biodiversity, and the application of agricultural fertilisers.

Whether such a colossal endeavour will work will not be known for several years. Its success will be judged on whether it can gain credibility and become the de facto scientific advisory body for the conventions that have endorsed its work.

Reference: Nature 417, 112 (2002)

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