In a report published yesterday (June 11), conservation experts have outlined long-term goals to reduce biodiversity loss with an easily measurably target of fewer than 20 extinctions a year.
Biodiversity loss is continuing at an unprecedented rate, and so far, action to deliver on the global agreements has failed to prevent further declines.
In 2010, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) set out a strategic plan which included 20 time-bound measurable targets to be met by 2020. Of these, only four have shown good progress and 12 show significantly worsening trends.
Therefore, conservation scientists have come together with a new set of proposals, in the journal Science, which outlines plans to limit extinctions to only 20 a year.
The proposals would apply to species across the major taxonomic groups (fungi, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates) and ecosystem types.
According to the authors of the report, the failure of the 2010 goals can be attributed to the lack of mainstreaming of biodiversity in public policy and limitations in raising the profile of species loss for politics and public.
Professor Mark Rounsevell, lead author of the paper said: ‘Over the coming decades, further species extinctions may be inevitable because of human domination of the planet.
‘So, a single prominent target based on extinction risk is needed in the further development of international nature conservation policy, as a means of supporting governments in arresting the loss of life on Earth.’
Professor Paula Harrison from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology added: ‘Raising public and political awareness of biodiversity loss is crucial to stimulating the concerted and coordinated action that will be needed to reverse it.
‘The climate change debate has shown that having a single indicator thats widely understood – such as species extinction – can be a catalyst for inspiring public support and the demand for policy action.’
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