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Global no net loss of natural ecosystems


A global goal of no net loss of natural ecosystems or better has recently been proposed, but such a goal would require equitable translation to country-level contributions. Given the wide variation in ecosystem depletion, these could vary from net gain (for countries where restoration is needed), to managed net loss (in rare circumstances where natural ecosystems remain extensive and human development imperative is greatest). National contributions and international support for implementation also must consider non-area targets (for example, for threatened species) and socioeconomic factors such as the capacity to conserve and the imperative for human development.

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Fig. 1: Variation in ecosystem depletion must be considered when setting country-level contributions to GNNL.
Fig. 2: Minimum country-level contributions to achievement of GNNL should consider the degree of human development.

Data availability

All datasets used in this analysis are available via the citations identified in Methods. The raw data used to create Figs. 1 and 2 are available in Supplementary Table 1.


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This work was funded via the Science for Nature and People Partnership and its support of the Compensatory Conservation Working Group. M.M. was supported by Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (grant no. FT140100516). The work was supported by the COMBO Project (funded by the Agence Française de Développement, Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial and the MAVA Foundation).

Author information




M.M., J.P.G.J., J.E.M.W. and J.S.S. led the writing. J.S.S. led the data analysis. M.M., J.S.S., J.E.M.W., L.J.S., L.B., V.F.G., F.Q., A.v.H., S.E., H.R., J.W.B., C.E.S., R.V., J.K., P.P., T.S., N.C. and J.P.G.J. developed the central concepts collaboratively and wrote and edited parts of the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Martine Maron.

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Competing interests

L.B., F.Q. and A.v.H. receive income from commercial contracts for consultancy services related to the development and implementation of biodiversity offset policies. All other authors have no competing interests.

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Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Reporting Summary

Supplementary Table 1

Summary of ecosystem and socioeconomic data for 170 countries, used to create scatterplots in Figs. 1 and 2.

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Maron, M., Simmonds, J.S., Watson, J.E.M. et al. Global no net loss of natural ecosystems. Nat Ecol Evol 4, 46–49 (2020).

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