The delay in final negotiations on the global post-2020 biodiversity framework is providing time for additional scientific evidence, and for strengthening ideas around natural capital.
Global biodiversity policy post-2020
Biodiversity is being lost globally, at devastating rates. The 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will finalise a global biodiversity conservation framework for 2020-2050. The negotiations must result in ambitious yet workable targets that protect and restore nature, while equitably and sustainably sharing nature’s contributions to people. This Collection of research and opinion articles from Nature Ecology & Evolution and Nature Sustainability speak to the goal-setting process and the scientific underpinnings of effective biodiversity conservation.
A new biodiversity decade is about to start and hopefully will achieve just progress for both people and the planet.
Divergent conceptions of living nature between conservationists and other groups of people can hinder progress to protect biodiversity. This Perspective reflects on the use of the concept of biodiversity, willingness to expand its ambit, and engagement with the various drivers of change.
Learning from the failure to meet the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the authors recommend effective global and national targets and other measures to ensure the post-2020 targets are more successful.
Sustainability is a function of environmental, economic and social integration. This Review synthesizes knowledge on the many ways biodiversity can support sustainable development.
Participation and inclusiveness in the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
Review of how a multilateral negotiation platform on biodiversity is championing diversity in both participants (by gender and ethnic groups) and forms of knowledge, such as traditional or indigenous.
This Perspective uses a social–ecological systems framework to make recommendations for global targets that capture the interdependencies of biodiversity, ecosystem services and sustainable development to inform the Convention on Biological Diversity post-2020 process and the future of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Land use is one of the most contested issues facing global conservation, but degraded lands should be the focus of governments and trusts to take and conserve uncontested areas for nature.
The species threat abatement and restoration (STAR) metric quantifies the contributions that abating threats and restoring habitats offer towards reducing species’ extinction risk in specific places.
A comprehensive analysis of indigenous and local knowledge on plant uses in New Guinea shows important documentation gaps that limit biodiversity assessments. Also, many services are rare, so less likely to be documented.
A restoration prioritization approach applied to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot considers 362 scenarios for synergies and trade-offs between ecological and economic costs, benefits and scales.
A curated global dataset of Payments for Environmental Services (PES) reveals that theoretical principles are only partially applied in practice, particularly conditionality, which makes payments underperform.
Using the Biodiversity Finance Initiative methodology, the authors assess the extent and effectiveness of biodiversity investment across different economies. Larger economies invest more in absolute terms and proportional to GDP but invest less once GDP is controlled for, and all biodiversity variables correlated positively with investment.
A discourse analysis across time shows how reformist and transformative proponents have been competing over the purpose of biodiversity offsetting, which requires stronger institutional commitments to advance.
A framework is presented for achieving global no net loss of biodiversity that accounts for inequity among countries in both pressures and ability to act.
In response to continuing habitat and biodiversity loss, leading conservationists have proposed setting aside half the earth for nature. This study evaluates the trade-offs with food production and finds losses in croplands, pasture and calories that vary with the conservation strategy.
Agricultural expansion removes habitat vital for biodiversity. This modelling study finds that 4.6–11.2% of global ice-free land can be devoted to crops and 7.9–15.7% to pasture to support commonly suggested levels of local biodiversity—less than suggested in previous studies.
An evidence map of global biodiversity loss research over the past decade suggests foci do not match predicted severity and impact, and that research and policy need to be realigned.
A global analysis of deforestation rates in more than 18,000 terrestrial protected areas shows that, once protected area effectiveness is taken into account, only 6.5%—rather than 15.7%—of the world’s forests are protected, well below the Aichi Target of 17%.
Agricultural expansion to grow food, fibre and biofuel will further threaten biodiversity. This study finds that almost 90% of terrestrial vertebrate species will lose habitat to such expansion, but proactive food policies could reduce these threats.
An analysis reveals only 17 out of 65 financiers require biodiversity impact mitigation measures, and overall the initiative falls short of international best practices
Increasing impacts of land use on biodiversity and carbon sequestration driven by population and economic growth
Combining biophysical and economic models, the authors show that the impacts of land use on bird biodiversity and carbon sequestration have increased over the years 2000–2011, with cattle farming being a major driver of biodiversity loss.
While regional and planetary biodiversity is suffering from numerous crises, conservation movements have struggled with how to respond. At this inflection point for conservation, over 9,000 conservationists are surveyed to analyse their views and how these are predicted by their characteristics.
Recently, ecologists have begun discussing an idea for setting aside half of the Earth for conservation purposes. This study provides some of the first analysis of the impacts of doing so on society, based on assumptions about ecoregions and human footprint.
Modelling nonlinear habitat dynamics shows that delayed compensation of human impacts (‘no net loss’) will lead to biodiversity declines by the middle of the century. Instead, the authors recommend fixed targets (such as ‘zero loss’) as part of the post-2020 biodiversity framework.
An international arrangement of transferable fishing rights and biomass-based allocation can incentivize establishing Marine Protected Areas while promoting the economy.
The development of the post-2020 strategic plan for the Convention on Biological Diversity provides a vital window of opportunity to set out an ambitious plan of action to restore global biodiversity. The components of such a plan, including its goal, targets and some metrics, already exist and provide a roadmap to 2050.
Conserving biodiversity for its own sake and conserving it to safeguard ecosystem services are distinct goals that cannot both be achieved through a single target analogous to climate’s 1.5 °C, argues Andy Purvis.
Biodiversity research is replete with scientific studies depicting future trajectories of decline that have failed to mobilize transformative change. Imagination and creativity can foster new ways to address longstanding problems to create better futures for people and the planet.
Much research and policy effort is being expended on ways to conserve living nature while enabling the economic and social development needed to increase equity and end poverty. We propose this will only be possible if policy shifts away from conservation targets that focus on avoiding losses towards processes that consider net outcomes for biodiversity.
Nationwide citizen science data show the importance of farmland outside protected areas for China’s avifauna. We urge the government of China to develop a national strategy for policy and research to protect biodiversity and traditional knowledge of sustainable agriculture to meet the post-2020 goal of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Regulations designed to prevent global inequalities in the use of genetic resources apply to both commercial and non-commercial research. Conflating the two may have unintended consequences for collaboration between the Global North and biodiverse countries in the Global South, which may promote global injustice rather than mitigate it.
Ambitious targets for the retention — not just formal protection — of nature are urgently needed to conserve biodiversity and to maintain crucial ecosystem services for humanity.