Biodiversity targets must aim higher, say global scientists

The next set of biodiversity targets must aim higher than ever if we are going to protect life on earth, writes a group of 40 global researchers. 

Nearly three decades have passed since world leaders first agreed to reverse biodiversity loss and yet, the latest biodiversity targets are soon set to expire with results falling well short of the goals.

Writing in the journal Science, 40 researchers have argued in favour of a set of holistic actions for new biodiversity targets that are clear, ambitious and based on the best knowledge available.

Most importantly, the researchers have said that the new goals must aim higher if they are to be successful in preventing the worst trends for the climate and life on earth.

The researchers have said that one of the most important lessons is that biodiversity is not just about pandas, polar bears and pangolins, but it is about the plethora of interwoven organisms living in ecosystems and harbouring genetic diversity.

This includes the plants, animals, fungi and other micro-organisms that are critical to nourishing, healing, housing and clothing humanity.

However as global diets increasingly rely on just a handful of crops and livestock, and often just a few varieties and breeds, much of this biodiversity is in decline.

To help guide policymakers achieve the 2050 vision of ‘living in harmony with nature,’ the researchers have proposed a checklist of realistic targets:

  • To attain no net biodiversity loss between 2020 – 2030
  • 20% net gain in biodiversity by 2050
  • 90% reduction in extinction rates
  • Maintain 90% genetic diversity in species

Ehsan Dulloo, a co-author of the article said: ‘If we want to guarantee that people have enough good quality healthy food and that people continue to benefit from nature, we need to safeguard the genetic diversity of the myriads of crop varieties and animal breeds and their wild relatives.

‘This genetic diversity is insurance for sustainable food security for the present and future generations.

‘The new post-2020 framework for global biodiversity needs to make sure that none of these very important components falls through the cracks.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

 

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Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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