Biodiversity loss and climate change are both globally significant issues that must be addressed through collaboration across countries and disciplines. With the December 2015 COP21 climate conference in Paris and the recent creation of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), it has become critical to evaluate the capacity for global research networks to develop at the interface between biodiversity and climate change. In the context of the European Union (EU) strategy to stand as a world leader in tackling global challenges, the European Commission has promoted ties between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) in science, technology and innovation. However, it is not clear how these significant interactions impact scientific cooperation at the interface of biodiversity and climate change.
The authors looked at research collaborations between two major regions the European Research Area (ERA) and LAC
that addressed both biodiversity and climate change. They analysed the temporal evolution of these collaborations, whether they were led by ERA or LAC teams, and which research domains they covered. The paper surveyed publications listed on the Web of Science that were authored by researchers from both the ERA and LAC and that were published between 2003 and 2013. The authors also run similar analyses on other topics and other continents to provide baseline comparisons.
Results revealed a steady increase in scientific co-authorships between ERA and LAC countries as a result of the increasingly complex web of relationships that has been weaved among scientists from the two regions. The ERA-LAC co-authorship increase for biodiversity and climate change was higher than those reported for other topics and for collaboration with other continents.
The paper also found strong differences in international collaboration patterns within the LAC: co-publications were fewest from esearchers in low- and lower-middle-income countries and most prevalent from researchers in emerging countries like Mexico and Brazil. Overall, interdisciplinary publications represented 25.8% of all publications at the interface of biodiversity and climate change in the ERA-LAC network.
Further scientific collaborations should be promoted:
- to prevent less developed countries from being isolated from the global cooperation network
- to ensure that scientists from these countries are trained to lead visible and recognized biodiversity and climate change research
- to develop common study models that better integrate
multiple scientific disciplines and better support decision-making.