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CONSERVATION PRIORITIES

Climate or biodiversity?

Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 375, 20190128 (2020)

Climate change and the rapid rate of biodiversity loss are two defining environmental crises of our time, but approaches to deal with one often neglect the other. In particular, climate change mitigation measures often focus on protecting high-carbon ecosystems, irrespective of their biodiversity value. As such, global biodiversity and climate objectives may be in poor agreement, or even in conflict.

In order to integrate these two objectives, Carolina Soto-Navarro and colleagues identified global areas of potential co-benefits for climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation. Importantly, they measured the multiple dimensions of biodiversity, including both species- and ecosystem-based values. To do so, they first developed a high-resolution global map of above- and below-ground carbon storage. This was subsequently integrated with biodiversity values representing either proactive or reactive conservation approaches. The authors identify ‘hotspots’, where areas of highest value for carbon storage and biodiversity values overlap, as well as highlighting the risk to these hotspots that remain largely unprotected. It is hoped that this work will facilitate implementation of integrated conservation targets.

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Correspondence to Tegan Armarego-Marriott.

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Armarego-Marriott, T. Climate or biodiversity?. Nat. Clim. Chang. 10, 385 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-020-0780-6

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