Develop a comprehensive strategy that meets biodiversity, climate, and water goals to maximize synergies

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Develop a comprehensive strategy that meets biodiversity, climate, and water goals to maximize synergies

In November, governments will hold a meeting under the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” in Glasgow. The recent G7 nature contract and the leaders’ commitment to nature signed by 88 heads of government indicate that solutions for mitigating and adapting to the natural climate will occupy an important place on the agenda. In 2022, China will host the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to agree on a new global biodiversity framework, including the proposed goal of protecting at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030, and applications that include biodiversity Comprehensive spatial planning to address changes in land and ocean use.

In order to prevent the decline of nature and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, it is necessary to design and implement strategies to better manage land use for agriculture, infrastructure, biodiversity protection, and climate change mitigation And adaptation, water supply and other needs. As highlighted by the draft Global Biodiversity Framework and the current efforts of Costa Rica, China and other countries, this requires spatial planning to assess where biodiversity conservation will bring the greatest benefit to other policy goals.

In order to support such a comprehensive strategy, the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution has just published a paper by the Nature Map Alliance, which proposes a spatial planning method. The paper sets out to identify important protection and management areas in the world to simultaneously protect the largest number of species from extinction, protect fragile terrestrial carbon stocks, and protect freshwater resources. This work is the first time that the protection of biodiversity, carbon and water is truly integrated into a common approach and a single global priority map. Another obvious innovation of this work is that a comprehensive set of plant distribution data (approximately 41% of all plant species) is considered in the analysis, and species targets are set for extinction risks.

“In order to implement post-2020 biodiversity strategies, such as the Global Biodiversity Framework, policymakers and governments need to clarify that resources and conservation management can bring the greatest potential benefits to biodiversity. At the same time , Biodiversity should not be viewed in isolation. Other aspects, such as the protection of carbon storage in natural ecosystems, should be considered together with biodiversity so that synergies and trade-offs can be assessed when pursuing multiple goals,” lead author, IIASA Explained Martin Jung, a researcher in the Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation Research Group.

“The new global priority map developed as part of the research shows that when it comes to identifying new conservation management areas, such as protected areas or community-managed forests, the quality (location and effectiveness of management ) Is more important than quantity (global scope). In order to pursue the quality of protection and achieve the goal of protecting biodiversity, governments and non-governmental organizations should set goals and indicators for what they want: protection of species, healthy ecosystems and Its services to humans and determine the protected areas accordingly. Our research provides guidance on how to do this,” added Piero Visconti, co-author of the study, who leads biodiversity, ecology and conservation research at IIASA group.

Researchers pointed out that protecting 30% of the strategically significant land can bring significant benefits to protection, climate, and water supply. Specifically, it will protect more than 62% of the world’s fragile above and below ground carbon and 68% of all fresh water, while ensuring that more than 70% of terrestrial vertebrates and plant species are not threatened by extinction. As this work shows, to achieve these goals, it is necessary to use natural maps and other spatial planning tools to strategically deploy protection interventions. The key is to enable managers to effectively manage these areas.

“This type of method can support decision makers to prioritize conservation efforts and show how much humans and nature can gain. For long-term success, these areas must be effectively and fairly managed. This includes respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and empowering them,” said co-author Lera Miles, chief technical expert on local planning at the UNEP-WCMC World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC).

“As called for in the draft Global Biodiversity Framework, comprehensive spatial plans are necessary to achieve climate and biodiversity goals. They are essential for funding natural climate solutions, improving carbon markets, and greening supplies. The chain is also crucial,” said Guido Schmidt-Traub, the author of the paper, who also wrote a review in the same issue of the journal Nature-Ecology and Evolution.

The study shows that, compared with stressing any asset alone, optimizing biodiversity, carbon and water together can maximize the synergy from protection. By taking strategic actions in selected locations, significant benefits can be achieved in all three areas. However, in order to achieve global biodiversity and climate goals, all participants in society need to greatly increase the scale of conservation efforts.

Jung pointed out that the analysis identified the highest potential value of any particular area managed and protected on a global scale. The team never suggests or implies that all high-value areas should be placed under strict protection. They recognize that these management choices are determined by national and local stakeholders.

The team’s analysis also quantitatively confirmed many areas previously described as biodiversity hotspots, which were previously based on expert opinions only. By including selected data on the global tree of life that has so far been neglected in the global prioritization-such as reptiles and plants-the team identified new areas that are considered important to biodiversity on a global scale. These regions include, for example, the southeastern United States and the Balkans. This research also helps to update and improve information on all areas of global importance for biodiversity conservation.

“Our methods, data, and global priority maps are intended to serve as decision support tools for major protection measures. In addition, this research lays the foundation for a new generation of comprehensive priority and planning work. All participating Anyone can use it to provide information on protection options at the regional, national, and sub-national levels,” Jung concluded.

The global priority map can be interactively explored in the United Nations Biodiversity Laboratory to support decision makers and generate insights and impacts for conservation and sustainable development.