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SCIENTISTS PREPARE BLUEPRINT FOR BIODIVERSITY LOSS REVERSAL

Image Credits: https://www.theguardian.com/

RESEARCH SHOWS HOW NATURAL LANDS CAN BE PROTECTED AND LINKED TOGETHER TO SUPPORT A GLOBAL RECOVERY THAT BENEFITS BOTH BIODIVERSITY AND HUMAN WELFARE 

A group of scientists and experts produced the first comprehensive global-scale analysis of terrestrial areas essential for biodiversity and climate resilience, totaling 50.4% of the Earth’s land. The report was published in Science Advances entitled “A ‘Global Safety Net’ to reverse biodiversity loss and stabilize the Earth’s climate,” and highlights the importance of protecting and restoring the natural world to address three converging crises – climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the emergence of novel viruses such as COVID-19. 

The research team was led by the research organization RESOLVE in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, Arizona State University, Globaïa, and others with support from One Earth. The data compiled for the Global Safety Net (GSN1) is available through an interactive web application developed by One Earth in partnership with Google Earth Engine. Users can click on a country, state, or eco-region to see configurations of biologically important land for each region. 

The two-year research effort builds upon multiple global-scale data sets to identify areas that require conservation beyond the 15.1% of land area currently protected. These are compiled into five main layers at a 1 km resolution: Species Rarity Sites, High Biodiversity Areas, Large Mammal Landscapes, Intact Wilderness, and Climate Stabilization Areas. 

The report concludes that an additional 35.3% of land is needed to conserve sites of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Fifty eco-regions and twenty countries contribute disproportionately to the total. One immediate priority identified is the protection of 2.3% of land area, which provides critical habitat for the world’s most endangered species. 

The paper presents for the first time a “common but differentiated” approach for area-based targets under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which will be held next year in Kunming, China. Each of the world’s 846 eco-regions has a unique combination of layers, offering recommended area-based conservation targets for each country. 

The analysis includes estimates of carbon storage by layer, making the same map relevant for government commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement (UNFCCC). It also highlights the vital role of indigenous lands in protecting biodiversity and reversing climate change, which cover 37% of the Global Safety Net area.

A complementary global-scale connectivity analysis was performed by the research organization Globaïa, demonstrating that a relatively modest land area – approximately 350 million hectares – could connect isolated fragments of nature together, increasing the resilience of ecosystems and our biosphere as a whole.

VIEW THE REPORT: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/36/eabb2824 

The report, “A Global Safety Net,” published in Science Advances, highlights the importance of protecting and restoring the natural world to address three converging crises — climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the emergence of novel viruses such as COVID-19.

The data compiled for the Global Safety Net (GSN1) is available through an interactive web application developed by One Earth in partnership with Google Earth Engine. You can click on a country, state, or ecoregion to see configurations of biologically important land for each region. 

CHECK OUT THE INTERACTIVE TOOL: https://www.globalsafetynet.app/ 

KNOW ABOUT THE NGOs BEHIND THE PROGRAM

RESOLVE is a Washington, DC-based non-profit research organization that forges sustainable solutions to critical environmental, social, and health challenges by creating innovative partnerships where they are most needed. The Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program tackles the most pressing conservation problems of our time – the extinction of endangered wildlife and threats to habitats – through technological innovation, ambitious global agreements, and targeted land conservation.

ONE EARTH is a philanthropic organization working to accelerate collective action to stay below 1.5°C through three pillars of action – renewable energy transition, nature conservation, and regenerative agriculture. One Earth’s mission is to inspire greater ambition and collaboration in the philanthropic sector, and to drive urgently needed resources where they’re needed most – to frontline leaders and organizations working to build a just, vibrant future for all. GLOBAÏA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of planetary stewardship through the advancement of science-based, transdisciplinary approaches to understanding the major socioecological issues of our time. Merging art and science, Globaïa produces cutting-edge research and media to help visualize our interconnected world and the ever-evolving relationship between human societies, living environments, and planet Earth

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

  1. Eric Dinerstein
  2. Carly Vynne-Baker
  3. Anup Joshi
  4. Greg Asner
  5. Manno França
  6. Tanya Birch
  7. Karl Burkart

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