Global Biodiversity Global Biodiversity Outlook

Global Biodiversity Global Biodiversity Outlook
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
World Trade Centre · 413 St. Jacques Street, Suite 800
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9
Phone: 1(514) 288 2220 · Fax: 1 (514) 288 6588
E-mail: [email protected] · Website: http://www.cbd.int
Table of Contents
Foreword ......................................................................................................... 4
Foreword by the United Nations Secretary-General .................................... 5
Message from the Executive Director of UNEP................................................ 6
Preface by the Executive Secretary of the CBD................................................ 7
Executive Summary ......................................................................................................... 8
Introduction ....................................................................................................... 14
Biodiversity in 2010 ....................................................................................................... 16
Species populations and extinction risks .......................................................
Terrestrial ecosystems.............................................................................................
Inland waters ecosystems......................................................................................
Marine and coastal ecosystems...........................................................................
Genetic diversity.........................................................................................................
Current pressures on biodiversity and responses........................................
24
32
42
46
51
55
Biodiversity Futures for the 21st Century........................................................................... 70
Terrestrial ecosystems.............................................................................................. 74
Inland water ecosystems........................................................................................ 78
Coastal and marine ecosystems........................................................................... 80
Towards a Strategy for Reducing Biodiversity Loss....................................................... 82
Acknowledgements ....................................................................................................... 88
Photo Credits
............................................................................................................... 91
List of Boxes, Tables and Figures........................................................................................... 93
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Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) Global Biodiversity Outlook 3.
Montréal, 94 pages.
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Biological Diversity
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Foreword
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 4
Foreword by the United Nations Secretary-General
In 2002, the world’s leaders agreed to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by
2010. Having reviewed all available evidence, including national reports submitted by Parties, this third
edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook concludes
that the target has not been met. Moreover, the Outlook warns, the principal pressures leading to biodiversity loss are not just constant but are, in some
cases, intensifying.
The consequences of this collective failure, if it is not
quickly corrected, will be severe for us all. Biodiversity underpins the functioning of the ecosystems on
which we depend for food and fresh water, health
and recreation, and protection from natural disasters. Its loss also affects us culturally and spiritually.
This may be more difficult to quantify, but is nonetheless integral to our well-being.
Current trends are bringing us closer to a number
of potential tipping points that would catastrophically reduce the capacity of ecosystems to provide
these essential services. The poor, who tend to be
most immediately dependent on them, would suffer first and most severely. At stake are the principal objectives outlined in the Millennium Development Goals: food security, poverty eradication and a
healthier population.
The conservation of biodiversity makes a critical
contribution to moderating the scale of climate
change and reducing its negative impacts by making ecosystems -- and therefore human societies -more resilient. It is therefore essential that the challenges related to biodiversity and climate change
are tackled in a coordinated manner and given
equal priority.
In several important areas, national and international action to support biodiversity is moving in a
positive direction. More land and sea areas are being
protected, more countries are fighting the serious
threat of invasive alien species, and more money is
being set aside for implementing the Convention on
Biological Diversity.
However, these efforts are too often undermined by
conflicting policies. To tackle the root causes of biodiversity loss, we must give it higher priority in all
areas of decision-making and in all economic sectors. As this third Global Biodiversity Outlook makes
clear, conserving biodiversity cannot be an afterthought once other objectives are addressed – it is
the foundation on which many of these objectives
are built. We need a new vision for biological diversity for a healthy planet and a sustainable future for
humankind.
Ban Ki-moon
Secretary‑General
United Nations
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 5
Message from the Executive Director of UNEP
A new and more intelligent compact between humanity and the Earth’s life-support systems is
urgently needed in 2010—the UN’s International
Year of Biodiversity. This was the year when governments had agreed to substantially reduce the rate
of biodiversity loss: this has not happened. Instead
of reflecting, governments, business and society as
a whole need to urgently renew and recommit to
this enterprise if sustainability is to be realized in
the 21st century.
The Global Biodiversity Outlook-3 contains the sobering facts and figures while pin pointing several
key reasons as to why the challenge of conserving
and indeed enhancing biodiversity remains unmet. One key area is economics: many economies
remain blind to the huge value of the diversity of
animals, plants and other life-forms and their role
in healthy and functioning ecosystems from forests
and freshwaters to soils, oceans and even the atmosphere.
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity,
hosted by UNEP, is a major exercise aimed at bridging understanding and driving action in this area.
It will complement the GBO-3 in advance of the
Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in
Nagoya later in the year. Already some compelling
and catalyzing facts are emerging.
✤A
nnual losses as a result of deforestation and
forest degradation alone may equate to losses of
US$2 trillion to over US$4.5 trillion alone. These
could be secured by an annual investment of just
US$45 billion: a 100 to 1 return.
Many countries are beginning to factor natural
capital into some areas of economic and social life
with important returns, but this needs rapid and
sustained scaling-up.
✤ In Venezuela, investment in the national protected area system is preventing sedimentation that
otherwise could reduce farm earnings by around
US$3.5 million a year.
✤P
lanting and protecting nearly 12,000 hectares
of mangroves in Vietnam costs just over US$1
million but saved annual expenditures on dyke
maintenance of well over US$7 million.
Mainstreaming the economics of biodiversity and
the multi-trillion dollar services of the ecosystems
which it supports into development, decision-making can make 2010 a success.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 6
Other ‘litmus tests’ include bridging the gap between science and policy-makers by perhaps the
establishment of an Intergovernmental Panel on
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Public awareness will also be key: de-mystifying terms such as
biodiversity and ecosystems is one challenge. The
other is to make the link between biodiversity and
livelihoods and the important role of biodiversity
and natural systems in meeting other sustainability
challenges such as climate change, water scarcity
and agriculture.
Governments also need to rise to the challenge of
Alien Invasive Species. By some estimates, they
may be costing the global economy US$1.4 trillion or more. In sub-Saharan Africa, the invasive
witchweed is responsible for annual maize losses
amounting to US$7 billion: overall losses to aliens
may amount to over US$12 billion in respect to Africa's eight principal crops.
Last but not least, a successful conclusion to negotiations on an international regime on access and
benefit sharing of genetic resources is needed. This
is the missing pillar of the CBD and perhaps its financial mechanism: a successful conclusion would
indeed make 2010 a year to applaud.
The arrogance of humanity is that somehow we
imagine we can get by without biodiversity or that it
is somehow peripheral: the truth is we need it more
than ever on a planet of six billion heading to over
nine billion people by 2050.
Achim Steiner
United Nations Under-Secretary General
and Executive Director, United Nations
Environment Programme
Preface by the Executive Secretary of the CBD
The third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook
(GBO-3) comes at a critical period in the history of
the Convention on Biological Diversity. It coincides
with the deadline agreed in Johannesburg by world
leaders to substantially reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth. To
this end the United Nations has designated 2010 as
the International Year of Biodiversity. For the first
time in its history, the United Nations General Assembly, during its 65th session, will convene a high
level meeting on biodiversity with the participation
of Heads of State and Government. Further during
the tenth meeting of the Conference of Parties to
the Convention, to be held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, Parties will develop a new strategic plan
for the coming decades including a 2050 vision and
2020 mission for biodiversity as well as means for
implementation and mechanism to monitor and
evaluate our progress towards our shared global
objectives.
More than fifteen years after the Convention came
into force, and when the international community
is actively preparing for the Rio+20 summit, this is
a time of reckoning for decision-makers committed to the global effort to safeguard the variety life
on Earth and its contribution to human well-being.
GBO-3 is a vital tool to inform decision-makers and
the wider public, about the state of biodiversity in
2010, the implications of current trends, and our options for the future.
Drawing extensively from the approximately 120
national reports submitted by Parties to the Convention, GBO-3 makes it clear that we have much
work to do over the months and years to come. No
country has reported that it will completely meet
the 2010 target, and a few Parties have unequivocally stated they will not meet it. Moreover, most
Parties have reported that at least one, but in most
cases several species and habitats within their national territories, were in a state of decline.
Most Parties have confirmed that five main pressures continue to affect biodiversity within their borders: habitat loss, the unsustainable use and overexploitation of resources, climate change, invasive alien
species, and pollution. Many positive steps have been
taken by the Parties to help address these issues.
These include the development of new biodiversityrelated legislation; the establishment of mechanisms
for environmental impact assessment; participation
in transboundary management or cooperation initiatives; and fostering community involvement in the
management of biological resources.
At the same time, the fourth national reports give
us a clear picture of the obstacles that need to be
overcome to better implement the objectives of the
Convention. These include limited capacity in both
developed and developing nations, including financial, human and technical issues; the absence of, or
difficulties in, accessing scientific information; limited awareness of biodiversity issues amongst the
general public and decision makers; limited biodiversity mainstreaming; fragmented decision making and limited communication between different
ministries or sectors; and the absence of economic
valuation of biodiversity.
As this Outlook makes clear, it is essential that these
obstacles are removed if we are to make progress in
tackling biodiversity loss. It is increasingly urgent
that we make such progress, as the consequences
of current trends have implications that jeopardize many of the objectives shared by the wider UN
family to change the world for the better. We have
an opportunity, equipped with the knowledge and
analysis contained in this document and its underlying sources, to move biodiversity into the mainstream of decision-making. Let us, individually and
collectively, seize this opportunity, for the sake of
current and future generations as indeed biodiversity is life, biodiversity is our life.
Ahmed Djoghlaf
Assistant Secretary-General
and Executive Secretary
Convention on Biological Diversity
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 7
Executive
Summary
The Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi) is a critically endangered species endemic to the island of Bali, Indonesia. It suffered
a drastic decline in population and range during the 20th century, due mainly to illegal poaching. In 1990 only around 15
birds were thought to survive in the wild. Conservation efforts coupled with the release of some captive-bred birds brought
the estimated population to more than 100 individuals by 2008, but numbers continue to fluctuate from year to year.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 8
The target agreed by the world’s Governments in 2002, “to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and
national level as a contribution to poverty
alleviation and to the benefit of all life on
Earth”, has not been met.
There are multiple indications of continuing decline
in biodiversity in all three of its main components —
genes, species and ecosystems — including:
✤ Species which have been assessed for extinction risk are on average moving closer to extinction. Amphibians face the greatest risk and
coral species are deteriorating most rapidly in
status. Nearly a quarter of plant species are estimated to be threatened with extinction.
✤ The abundance of vertebrate species, based on
assessed populations, fell by nearly a third on
average between 1970 and 2006, and continues
to fall globally, with especially severe declines
in the tropics and among freshwater species.
✤ Natural habitats in most parts of the world
continue to decline in extent and integrity,
although there has been significant progress
in slowing the rate of loss for tropical forests
and mangroves, in some regions. Freshwater
wetlands, sea ice habitats, salt marshes, coral
reefs, seagrass beds and shellfish reefs are all
showing serious declines.
✤ Extensive fragmentation and degradation of
forests, rivers and other ecosystems have also
led to loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
✤ Crop and livestock genetic diversity continues
to decline in agricultural systems.
✤ The five principal pressures directly driving
biodiversity loss (habitat change, overexploitation, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change) are either constant or increasing
in intensity.
✤ The ecological footprint of humanity exceeds
the biological capacity of the Earth by a wider
margin than at the time the 2010 target was
agreed.
The loss of biodiversity is an issue of profound concern for its own sake. Biodiversity
also underpins the functioning of ecosystems
which provide a wide range of services to human societies. Its continued loss, therefore,
has major implications for current and future
human well-being. The provision of food, fibre,
medicines and fresh water, pollination of crops,
filtration of pollutants, and protection from
natural disasters are among those ecosystem
services potentially threatened by declines and
changes in biodiversity. Cultural services such
as spiritual and religious values, opportunities
for knowledge and education, as well as recreational and aesthetic values, are also declining.
The existence of the 2010 biodiversity target
has helped to stimulate important action to
safeguard biodiversity, such as creating more
protected areas (both on land and in coastal waters), the conservation of particular species, and
initiatives to tackle some of the direct causes of
ecosystem damage, such as pollution and alien species invasions. Some 170 countries now
have national biodiversity strategies and action plans. At the international level, financial
resources have been mobilized and progress
has been made in developing mechanisms for
research, monitoring and scientific assessment
of biodiversity.
Many actions in support of biodiversity have
had significant and measurable results in
particular areas and amongst targeted species and ecosystems. This suggests that with
adequate resources and political will, the
tools exist for loss of biodiversity to be reduced at wider scales. For example, recent
government policies to curb deforestation have
been followed by declining rates of forest loss
in some tropical countries. Measures to control
alien invasive species have helped a number
of species to move to a lower extinction risk
category. It has been estimated that at least 31
bird species (out of 9,800) would have become
extinct in the past century, in the absence of
conservation measures.
However, action to implement the Convention
on Biological Diversity has not been taken
on a sufficient scale to address the pressures
on biodiversity in most places. There has
been insufficient integration of biodiversity
issues into broader policies, strategies and
programmes, and the underlying drivers of
biodiversity loss have not been addressed
significantly. Actions to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity receive
a tiny fraction of funding compared to activities aimed at promoting infrastructure and industrial developments. Moreover, biodiversity
considerations are often ignored when such
developments are designed, and opportunities
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 9
to plan in ways that minimize unnecessary
negative impacts on biodiversity are missed.
Actions to address the underlying drivers of
biodiversity loss, including demographic, economic, technological, socio-political and cultural pressures, in meaningful ways, have also
been limited.
Most future scenarios project continuing
high levels of extinctions and loss of habitats
throughout this century, with associated decline of some ecosystem services important to
human well-being.
For example:
✤ Tropical forests would continue to be cleared
in favour of crops and pastures, and potentially for biofuel production.
✤ Climate change, the introduction of invasive
alien species, pollution and dam construction
would put further pressure on freshwater biodiversity and the services it underpins.
✤ Overfishing would continue to damage marine ecosystems and cause the collapse of fish
populations, leading to the failure of fisheries.
Changes in the abundance and distribution
of species may have serious consequences
for human societies. The geographical distribution of species and vegetation types is projected to shift radically due to climate change,
with ranges moving from hundreds to thousands of kilometres towards the poles by the
end of the 21st century. Migration of marine
species to cooler waters could make tropical
oceans less diverse, while both boreal and temperate forests face widespread dieback at the
southern end of their existing ranges, with im-
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 10
pacts on fisheries, wood harvests, recreation opportunities and other services.
There is a high risk of dramatic biodiversity loss
and accompanying degradation of a broad range
of ecosystem services if ecosystems are pushed
beyond certain thresholds or tipping points. The
poor would face the earliest and most severe impacts of such changes, but ultimately all societies and communities would suffer.
Examples include:
✤ The Amazon forest, due to the interaction of
deforestation, fire and climate change, could
undergo a widespread dieback, with parts
of the forest moving into a self-perpetuating cycle of more frequent fires and intense
droughts leading to a shift to savanna-like
vegetation. While there are large uncertainties
associated with these scenarios, it is known
that such dieback becomes much more likely
to occur if deforestation exceeds 20 – 30% (it
is currently above 17% in the Brazilian Amazon). It would lead to regional rainfall reductions, compromising agricultural production.
There would also be global impacts through
increased carbon emissions, and massive loss
of biodiversity.
✤ The build-up of phosphates and nitrates from
agricultural fertilizers and sewage effluent
can shift freshwater lakes and other inland
water ecosystems into a long-term, algaedominated (eutrophic) state. This could lead
to declining fish availability with implications
for food security in many developing countries. There will also be loss of recreation opportunities and tourism income, and in some
cases health risks for people and livestock
from toxic algal blooms. Similar, nitrogen–in-
duced eutrophication phenomena in coastal
environments lead to more oxygen-starved
dead zones, with major economic losses resulting from reduced productivity of fisheries
and decreased tourism revenues.
✤ The combined impacts of ocean acidification,
warmer sea temperatures and other humaninduced stresses make tropical coral reef ecosystems vulnerable to collapse. More acidic
water — brought about by higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere — decreases the availability of the carbonate ions
required to build coral skeletons. Together with
the bleaching impact of warmer water, elevated nutrient levels from pollution, overfishing,
sediment deposition arising from inland deforestation, and other pressures, reefs worldwide
increasingly become algae-dominated with
catastrophic loss of biodiversity and ecosystem
functioning, threatening the livelihoods and
food security of hundreds of millions of people.
There are greater opportunities than previously recognized to address the biodiversity
crisis while contributing to other social objectives. For example, analyses conducted for this
Outlook identified scenarios in which climate
change is mitigated while maintaining and even
expanding the current extent of forests and
other natural ecosystems (avoiding additional
habitat loss from the widespread deployment of
biofuels). Other opportunities include “rewilding” abandoned farmland in some regions, and
the restoration of river basins and other wetland ecosystems to enhance water supply, flood
control and the removal of pollutants.
Well-targeted policies focusing on critical areas, species and ecosystem services are essential to avoid the most dangerous impacts
on people and societies. Preventing further
human-induced biodiversity loss for the nearterm future will be extremely challenging, but
biodiversity loss may be halted and in some
aspects reversed in the longer term, if urgent,
concerted and effective action is initiated now
in support of an agreed long-term vision.
Such action to conserve biodiversity and use its
components sustainably will reap rich rewards through better health, greater food security, less
poverty and a greater capacity to cope with, and
adapt to, environmental change.
Placing greater priority on biodiversity is central
to the success of development and poverty-alleviation measures. It is clear that continuing with
“business as usual” will jeopardize the future of
all human societies, and none more so than the
poorest who depend directly on biodiversity for a
particularly high proportion of their basic needs.
The loss of biodiversity is frequently linked to the
loss of cultural diversity, and has an especially high
negative impact on indigenous communities.
The linked challenges of biodiversity loss and
climate change must be addressed by policymakers with equal priority and in close co-ordination, if the most severe impacts of each are to
be avoided. Reducing the further loss of carbonstoring ecosystems such as tropical forests, salt
marshes and peatlands will be a crucial step in
limiting the build-up of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere. At the same time, reducing other
pressures on ecosystems can increase their resilience, make them less vulnerable to those impacts of climate change which are already unavoidable, and allow them to continue to provide
services to support people’s livelihoods and help
them adapt to climate change.
Better protection of biodiversity should be seen
as a prudent and cost-effective investment in
risk-avoidance for the global community. The
consequences of abrupt ecosystem changes on
a large scale affect human security to such an
extent, that it is rational to minimize the risk of
triggering them - even if we are not clear about
the precise probability that they will occur. Ecosystem degradation, and the consequent loss
of ecosystem services, has been identified as
one of the main sources of disaster risk. Investment in resilient and diverse ecosystems, able
to withstand the multiple pressures they are
subjected to, may be the best-value insurance
policy yet devised.
Scientific uncertainty surrounding the precise
connections between biodiversity and human
well-being, and the functioning of ecosystems,
should not be used as an excuse for inaction.
No one can predict with accuracy how close we
are to ecosystem tipping points, and how much
additional pressure might bring them about.
What is known from past examples, however, is
that once an ecosystem shifts to another state,
it can be difficult or impossible to return it to
the former conditions on which economies and
patterns of settlement have been built for generations.
Effective action to address biodiversity loss depends on addressing the underlying causes or
indirect drivers of that decline.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 11
This will mean:
✤M
uch greater efficiency in the use of land, energy, fresh water and materials to meet growing demand.
✤U
se of market incentives, and avoidance of
perverse subsidies to minimize unsustainable resource use and wasteful consumption.
✤S
trategic planning in the use of land, inland
waters and marine resources to reconcile
development with conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of multiple ecosystem services. While some actions may entail
moderate costs or tradeoffs, the gains for biodiversity can be large in comparison.
✤E
nsuring that the benefits arising from use
of and access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, for example
through the development of drugs and cosmetics, are equitably shared with the countries and cultures from which they are obtained.
✤C
ommunication, education and awarenessraising to ensure that as far as possible, everyone understands the value of biodiversity
and what steps they can take to protect it,
including through changes in personal consumption and behaviour.
The real benefits of biodiversity, and the costs
of its loss, need to be reflected within economic systems and markets. Perverse subsidies and
the lack of economic value attached to the huge
benefits provided by ecosystems have contributed to the loss of biodiversity. Through regu-
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 12
lation and other measures, markets can and
must be harnessed to create incentives to safeguard and strengthen, rather than to deplete,
our natural infrastructure. The re-structuring
of economies and financial systems following
the global recession provides an opportunity for
such changes to be made. Early action will be
both more effective and less costly than inaction or delayed action.
Urgent action is needed to reduce the direct
drivers of biodiversity loss. The application of
best practices in agriculture, sustainable forest
management and sustainable fisheries should
become standard practice, and approaches
aimed at optimizing multiple ecosystem services instead of maximizing a single one should
be promoted. In many cases, multiple drivers
are combining to cause biodiversity loss and
degradation of ecosystems. Sometimes, it may
be more effective to concentrate urgent action
on reducing those drivers most responsive to
policy changes. This will reduce the pressures
on biodiversity and protect its value for human
societies in the short to medium-term, while
the more intractable drivers are addressed over
a longer time-scale. For example the resilience
of coral reefs – and their ability to withstand
and adapt to coral bleaching and ocean acidification – can be enhanced by reducing overfishing, land-based pollution and physical damage.
Direct action to conserve biodiversity must
be continued, targeting vulnerable as well
as culturally-valued species and ecosystems,
combined with steps to safeguard key ecosystem services, particularly those of importance
to the poor. Activities could focus on the conservation of species threatened with extinction,
those harvested for commercial purposes, or
species of cultural significance. They should
also ensure the protection of functional ecological groups – that is, groups of species that
collectively perform particular, essential roles
within ecosystems, such as pollination, control
of herbivore numbers by top predators, cycling
of nutrients and soil formation.
Increasingly, restoration of terrestrial, inland
water and marine ecosystems will be needed
to re-establish ecosystem functioning and the
provision of valuable services. Economic analysis shows that ecosystem restoration can give
good economic rates of return. However the
biodiversity and associated services of restored
ecosystems usually remain below the levels of
natural ecosystems. This reinforces the argument that, where possible, avoiding degradation
through conservation is preferable (and even
more cost-effective) than restoration after the
event.
Better decisions for biodiversity must be made
at all levels and in all sectors, in particular
the major economic sectors, and government
has a key enabling role to play. National programmes or legislation can be crucial in creating a favourable environment to support effective “bottom-up” initiatives led by communities,
local authorities, or businesses. This also includes empowering indigenous peoples and local communities to take responsibility for biodiversity management and decision-making;
and developing systems to ensure that the benefits arising from access to genetic resources
are equitably shared.
We can no longer see the continued loss of
and changes to biodiversity as an issue separate from the core concerns of society: to tackle
poverty, to improve the health, prosperity and
security of our populations, and to deal with
climate change. Each of those objectives is undermined by current trends in the state of our
ecosystems, and each will be greatly strengthened if we correctly value the role of biodiversity in supporting the shared priorities of the
international community. Achieving this will
involve placing biodiversity in the mainstream
of decision-making in government, the private
sector, and other institutions from the local to
international scales.
The action taken over the next decade or two,
and the direction charted under the Convention on Biological Diversity, will determine
whether the relatively stable environmental
conditions on which human civilization has
depended for the past 10,000 years will continue beyond this century. If we fail to use this
opportunity, many ecosystems on the planet
will move into new, unprecedented states in
which the capacity to provide for the needs of
present and future generations is highly uncertain.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 13
Introduction
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 14
This Outlook presents some stark choices for
human societies. On one hand it warns that
the diversity of living things on the planet
continues to be eroded as a result of human
activities. The pressures driving the loss of
biodiversity show few signs of easing, and in
some cases are escalating. The consequences
of current trends are much worse than previously thought, and place in doubt the continued provision of vital ecosystem services.
The poor stand to suffer disproportionately
from potentially catastrophic changes to ecosystems in coming decades, but ultimately all
societies stand to lose.
On the other hand, the Outlook offers a message of hope. The options for addressing the crisis are wider than was apparent in earlier studies. Determined action to conserve biodiversity
and use it sustainably will reap rich rewards.
It will benefit people in many ways - through
better health, greater food security and less
poverty. It will safeguard the variety of nature,
an objective justified in its own right according
to a range of belief systems and moral codes.
It will help to slow climate change by enabling
ecosystems to absorb and store more carbon;
and it will help people adapt to climate change
by adding resilience to ecosystems and making
them less vulnerable.
Taking actions to ensure the maintenance and
restoration of well-functioning ecosystems, underpinned by biodiversity and providing natural
infrastructure for human societies, can provide
economic gains worth trillions of dollars a year.
The latest science suggests ever more strongly
that better management, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is a prudent and
cost-effective investment in social and economic
security, and in risk reduction for the global community.
This Outlook shows that efforts to date have not
been sufficient to reduce significantly the rate of
biodiversity loss and analyses why; it assesses
the potential for long-lasting or irreversible ecosystem changes to result from current trends
and practices; and it concludes that concerted
and targeted responses, with action applied at
appropriate levels to address both direct pressures on biodiversity and their underlying causes, can in the long term stop or even reverse the
continued decline in the variety of life on Earth.
The action taken over the next two decades will
determine whether the relatively stable environmental conditions on which human civilization has
depended for the past 10,000 years will continue
beyond this century. If we fail to use this opportunity, many ecosystems on the planet will move into
new, unprecedented states in which the capacity to
provide for the needs of present and future generations is highly uncertain.
BOX 1 Biodiversity, the CBD and the 2010 target
The word biodiversity, a contraction of the synonymous phrase ‘biological diversity’, is defined by the Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD) as ‘the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within
species, between species and of ecosystems’. This is the definition used throughout this document.
The CBD is one of the three “Rio Conventions”, emerging from the UN Conference on Environment and Development,
also known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It came into force at the end of 1993, with the following objectives:
“The conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the
benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by
appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies,
and by appropriate funding.”
There are currently 193 Parties to the Convention (192 countries and the European Union). In April 2002, the Parties
to the Convention committed themselves to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity
loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.
This target was subsequently endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (the “Rio + 10” summit) in
Johannesburg, 2002, and by the United Nations General Assembly. It was also incorporated as a new target under one
of the Millennium Development Goals – Ensure Environmental Sustainability. The 2010 biodiversity target is therefore a
commitment from all governments, including those not party to the CBD.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 15
Biodiversity
in 2010
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 16
Overview
The 2010 biodiversity target has not been
met at the global level. None of the twentyone sub-targets accompanying the overall
target of significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 can be said definitively to have been achieved globally, although
some have been partially or locally achieved.
Despite an increase in conservation efforts,
the state of biodiversity continues to decline,
according to most indicators, largely because
the pressures on biodiversity continue to increase. There is no indication of a significant
reduction in the rate of decline in biodiversity, nor of a significant reduction in pressures
upon it. However, negative trends have been
slowed or reversed in some ecosystems. There
are several indications that responses to biodiversity loss are increasing and improving,
although not yet on a scale sufficient to affect
overall negative trends in the state of biodiversity or the pressures upon it.
While none of the sub-targets can be said definitively to have been met, some have been
achieved partially or at regional or national
scales [See Table 1]. In fact, the 2010 biodiversity
target has inspired action at many levels. Some
170 countries now have national biodiversity
strategies and action plans [See Box 2 and Figure 1]. Protected areas have been expanded in
number and extent, on both land and in coastal
waters. Environmental impact assessment is
more widely applied with most countries reporting that they have some measures in place for
its use.
Most countries are also undertaking activities
related to communication, education and public
awareness as well biodiversity monitoring, research and the development of databases. At the
international level, financial resources have been
mobilized and progress has been made in developing mechanisms for research, monitoring and
scientific assessment of biodiversity.
When governments agreed to the 2010 target
for significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity
loss [See Box 1], a number of tools were put in
place within the Convention on Biological Diversity and other conventions to help focus action towards achieving the target, to monitor
progress towards it, and eventually to determine
whether it had in fact been achieved. Twentyone sub-targets were defined, to be reached by
2010 towards eleven principal goals related to
biodiversity.
The Torngat Mountains
National Park of Canada,
which is co-managed with
the Labrador and Nunavik
Inuit, is the 42nd national
park to be established in
the country. The park is
located at the northern
tip of Labrador and covers
approximately 9,700
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 17
square kilometres of
arctic ecosystems.
Table 1 Status of agreed subsidiary targets to 2010 biodiversity target
Table 1: Status of agreed subsidiary targets to 2010 biodiversity target
Goal 1. Promote the conservation of the biological diversity of ecosystems, habitats and biomes
1.1: At least 10% of each of
the world's ecological regions
effectively conserved.
Not achieved globally, but more than half of terrestrial eco-regions meet the 10% target. However, management effectiveness is low for some protected areas. Marine and inland water systems lack protection, though
this is increasing.
1.2: Areas of particular
importance to biodiversity
protected.
Not achieved globally, but an increasing proportion of the sites of importance for conserving birds, and those
holding the last remaining populations of threatened species, are being protected.
Goal 2. Promote the conservation of species diversity
2.1: Restore, maintain, or reduce the
decline of populations of species of
selected taxonomic groups.
Not achieved globally as many species continue to decline in abundance and distribution. However, some efforts
have resulted in the recovery of targeted species.
2.2: Status of
threatened species
improved.
Not achieved globally, as species are on average at increasing risk of extinction. However some species have
moved to lower risk categories as a result of actions taken.
Goal 3. Promote the conservation of genetic diversity
3.1: Genetic diversity of crops, livestock,
and of harvested species of trees, fish and
wildlife and other valuable species
conserved, and associated indigenous and
local knowledge maintained.
Not achieved globally. Information on genetic diversity is fragmentary. Progress has been made towards
conserving genetic diversity of crops through ex situ actions, however agricultural systems continue to be
simplified. While the genetic diversity of wild species is more difficult to ascertain, the overall decline of biodiversity presented in this report strongly suggests that genetic diversity is not being maintained. Genetic resources
in situ and traditional knowledge are protected through some projects, but continue to decline overall.
Goal 4. Promote sustainable use and consumption
4.1: Biodiversity-based products
derived from sources that are
sustainably managed, and production
areas managed consistent with the
conservation of biodiversity.
Not achieved globally but progress for some components of biodiversity such as forests and some fisheries.
Globally sustainable use does not account for a large share of total products and production areas.
4.2: Unsustainable consumption, of
biological resources, or that impacts
upon biodiversity, reduced.
Not achieved globally. Unsustainable consumption has increased and continues to be a major cause of biodiversity loss.
4.3: No species of wild flora
or fauna endangered by
international trade.
Not achieved globally. Wild flora and fauna continue to decline as a result of international trade, but successes
achieved particularly through implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Goal 5. Pressures from habitat loss, land use change and degradation, and unsustainable water use, reduced
5.1: Rate of loss and
degradation of natural
habitats decreased.
Not achieved globally as many biodiversity-sensitive regions continue to decline, but some progress in reducing
the rate of loss in some areas.
Goal 6. Control threats from invasive alien species
6.1: Pathways for major
potential alien invasive
species controlled.
Not achieved globally as the introduction of invasive alien species continues to increase as a result of greater
transport, trade, and tourism. However, national action related to global agreements on plant protection and
ballast water promises to reduce the risk of new invasions in some countries and ecosystems.
6.2: Management plans in place for
major alien species that threaten
ecosystems, habitats or species.
Not achieved globally, though some management plans are in place. Most countries lack effective management
programmes.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 18
Table 1: Status of agreed subsidiary targets to 2010 biodiversity target
Goal 7. Address challenges to biodiversity from climate change, and pollution
7.1: Maintain and enhance resilience
of the components of biodiversity to
adapt to climate change.
Not achieved globally, as limited action has been taken to reduce other pressures and thus enhance the
resilience of biodiversity in the face of climate change. However, the establishment of biodiversity
corridors in some regions may help species to migrate and adapt to new climatic conditions.
7.2: Reduce pollution and its
impacts on biodiversity.
Not achieved globally but mixed results. Measures to reduce the impacts of pollution on biodiversity have
been taken, resulting in the recovery of some previously heavily degraded ecosystems. However, many
previously pristine areas are being degraded. Nitrogen deposition continues to be major threat to
biodiversity in many regions.
Goal 8. Maintain capacity of ecosystems to deliver goods and services and support livelihoods
8.1: Capacity of ecosystems to
deliver goods and services
maintained.
Not achieved globally, given the continuing and in some cases escalating pressures on ecosystems.
However, there have been some actions taken, to ensure the continued provision of ecosystem services.
8.2: Biological resources that support
sustainable livelihoods, local food security
and health care, especially of poor people.
Not achieved globally, as many of the biological resources which sustain livelihoods, such as fish
mammals, birds, amphibians and medicinal plants, are in decline, with the world’s poor being particularly
affected.
Goal 9. Maintain socio-cultural diversity of indigenous and local communities
9.1: Protect traditional knowledge,
innovations and practices.
Not achieved globally, as long-term declines in traditional knowledge and rights continue, despite the
actions taken to protect them in some areas.
9.2: Protect the rights of indigenous and
local communities over their traditional
knowledge, innovations and practices,
including their rights to benefit sharing.
Not achieved globally but an increasing number of co-management systems and community-based
protected areas have been established, with the greater protection of the rights of indigenous and local
communities.
Goal 10. Ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources
10.1: All transfers of genetic resources are in
line with the Convention on Biological
Diversity, the International Treaty on Plant
Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
and other applicable agreements.
Not achieved globally but increasing number of material transfer agreements have been developed under
the Treaty.
10.2: Benefits arising from the commercial
and other utilization of genetic resources
shared with the countries providing such
resources.
Not achieved globally. There are few examples of the benefit arising from the commercial and other
utilization of genetic resources being shared with the countries providing such resources. This can be partially
attributed to the fact that the Access and Benefit Sharing Regime was being developed from 2002, when the
biodiversity target was adopted, until 2010, the deadline set by the CBD for final agreement on this issue.
Goal 11. Parties have improved financial, human, scientific, technical and technological capacity to implement the Convention
11.1: New and additional financial resources
are transferred to developing country Parties,
to allow for the effective implementation of
their commitments under the Convention, in
accordance with Article 20.
Not achieved globally. While resources continue to be lacking there have been modest increases in official
development assistance related to biodiversity.
11.2: Technology is transferred to
developing country Parties, to allow for the
effective implementation of their commitments under the Convention, in accordance
with its Article 20, paragraph 4.
Not achieved globally. From country reports it is clear that some developing countries have mechanisms
and programmes in place for technology transfer. However, it is also clear that the limited access to
technology is an obstacle to implementation of the Convention and reaching the 2010 biodiversity target
in many developing countries.
Not achieved globally
Not achieved globally
but some progress
Not achieved globally
but significant progress
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 19
BOX 2 National action on biodiversity
Over 170 countries (87% of the Parties to the Convention) have developed national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs). A further 14
Parties are preparing them, and 9 have either not started to draw up a strategy or had not announced their intention to do so by the time this Outlook
went to press.
An overwhelming majority of governments, in other words, have been through the process of codifying their approach to protecting the biodiversity
within their own territory. In many countries, the preparation of strategies has stimulated the development of additional laws and programmes, and
spurred action on a broad range of issues, including: the eradication or control of alien invasive species; using biodiversity sustainably; the protection
of traditional knowledge and rules to ensure local communities share benefits from bio-prospecting which might result in patents or sales of new
drugs, foods or cosmetics; the safe use of biotechnology; and maintaining the diversity of plants and animals used in agriculture.
Relatively few Parties have fully integrated the 2010 biodiversity target into their national strategies. Moreover, few countries are using NBSAPs as
effective tools for integrating biodiversity into broader national strategies, policies and planning processes. More than 80% of Parties, in their latest
national reports to the CBD, concede that limited biodiversity mainstreaming, fragmented decision making and/or limited communication among
government ministries or sectors is a challenge to meeting the goals of the Convention.
However, recently developed and updated national biodiversity strategies tend to be more strategic than the first generation of NBSAPs, they have
a stronger emphasis on mainstreaming, and give greater recognition to broader national development objectives.
NBSAPs should catalyze a number of strategic actions in countries, including:
✤ Mainstreaming – biodiversity will be best protected if it is a significant factor in decisions made across a wide range of sectors, departments and
economic activities, systems for planning the use of land, freshwater and sea areas (spatial planning), and policies to reduce poverty and adapt
to climate change.
✤ Communication and involvement – strategies will only be effective if they genuinely involve the people closest to the resources they are designed
to protect. Often the best solutions will be driven by local demand, using legal and institutional frameworks set at a higher level.
✤ Tools for implementation – particular approaches, such as making integrated decisions based on maintaining and improving the overall health
of ecosystems, or introducing policies on payments for the use of hitherto “free” ecosystem services, can aid in the protection of biodiversity.
✤ Knowledge – for good decisions to be made, the best available information about the biodiversity of a country or region must be accessible to
the right people at the right time. The Clearing-House Mechanism, a system of compiling, co-ordinating and providing access to relevant and
up-to-date knowledge, is a key tool provided by the CBD framework.
✤ Monitoring – assessing and communicating progress towards the objectives and targets set by a biodiversity strategy is an important way to
improve its effectiveness and visibility.
✤ Financing and capacity – co-ordinating action to support biodiversity will only be meaningful if there is money to do it and there are people who
know how to do it.
Number
Numberofofcountries
countries
Number of countries
Number of countries
195
195
195
180
180
195
180
180
160
160
120
120
100
100
80
80
60
60
40
40
20
20
1994
1995
1996
1997
Countries
1998
1999
2000
Parties
2001
2002
The number of countries party to the Convention on Biological Diversity has grown over time,
and it currently has near universal membership.
Of the 193 Parties to the Convention 170 have
developed National Biodiversity Strategies and
Action Plans (NBSAPs) and of these, more than
35 Parties have revised their NBSAP.
120
120
100
100
8080
6060
Source: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
4040
2020
00
1992
1992 1993
1993 1994
1994 1995
1995 1996
1996 1997
1997 1998
1998 1999
1999 2000
2000 2001
2001 2002
2002 2003
2003 2004
2004 2005
2005 2006
2006 2007
2007 2008
200
0
1992
1993
FIGURE 1 Parties to Convention on
Biological Diversity
140
140
140
140
0
1992
160
160
1993
2003
NBSAPs
1994
2004
1995
2005
1996
1997
1998
Countries
2006
2007 2008
1999
2000
Parties
2009
2010
NBSAP revisions
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 20
Number
Numberofofcountries
countries
195
195
2001 Countries
2002 2003
Countries
NBSAPs
2004
2005
2008 2009
Parties
Parties2006 2007NBSAPs
NBSAPs
NBSAP revisions
2010
NBSAP
NBSAPrevisions
revisions
There is no single measurement that captures
the current status or trends in global biodiversity.
Therefore a range of indicators was developed
for the Convention on Biological Diversity, to provide scientifically rigorous assessments of trends
in the state of the various components of biodiversity (genes, populations, species, ecosystems);
the pressures being imposed upon it; and the
responses being adopted to address biodiversity
loss. Ten of the fifteen headline indicators show
trends unfavourable for biodiversity [See Table
2]. Yet, for certain indicators the amount and
coverage of data is not sufficient to make statements with confidence. The assessment of status
and trends of biodiversity on the following pages
therefore relies on multiple lines of evidence,
including scientific literature and recent assessments, as well as national reports from the Parties to the Convention. Not a single government
in the latest reports submitted to the CBD claims
that the 2010 biodiversity target has been completely met at the national level. Around one in
five governments state explicitly that they have
missed the target.
Although the evidence does not show a significant decline in the rate of biodiversity loss, some
interventions have had a measurable, positive
impact by making the decline less severe than it
would otherwise have been. For example, it is estimated that 31 bird species, out of a total of some
9,800, would have become extinct in the absence
of conservation actions.
Missing the 2010 target has serious implications
for human societies. Biodiversity underpins a
wide range of services that support economies,
food production systems and secure living conditions [See Box 3]. The loss of biodiversity (at the
genetic, species and ecosystem levels) also affects
human health in many ways.
Projections of the impacts of continued biodiversity loss, some associated costs and how they
might be avoided, are outlined in this synthesis.
First, the current status and trends of biodiversity,
the pressures upon it and responses to its loss are
described in more detail.
Coastal ecosystems, as
well as supporting a wide
range of species, often
provide vital barriers that
protect human communities from the full force
of onshore waves and
storms.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 21
Table
2 Trends
agreedof
indicators
of progress
thetarget
2010 biodiversity target
Table
2: Trends
shown shown
by agreedby
indicators
progress towards
the 2010towards
biodiversity
Status and trends of the components of biological diversity
Trends in extent of selected
biomes, ecosystems, and
habitats
Most habitats in most parts of the world are declining in extent, although forest area expands in some
regions, and the loss of mangroves has slowed significantly, except in Asia.
Trends in abundance and
distribution of selected
species
Most species with limited population size and distribution are being further reduced, while some common
and invasive species become more common.
(but limited number of taxa assessed)
Change in status of
threatened species
The risk of extinction increases for many threatened species, although some species recovery programmes
have been very successful.
(for those species assessed)
Table 2: Trends shown by agreed indicators of progress towards the 2010 biodiversity target
Trends in genetic diversity of domesticated
species
of major socio-economic importance
cultivated
plants,diversity
and fish
Status and trendsanimals,
of the components
of biological
Trends in extent of selected
biomes, ecosystems, and
Coverage of protected
habitats
It is likely that the genetic variety of cultivated species is declining, but the extent of such decline and its
overall impacts are not well understood.
(although many case studies with a high degree of certainty are available)
Most habitats in most parts of the world are declining in extent, although forest area expands in some
regions, and the loss of mangroves has slowed significantly, except in Asia.
areas
There has been a significant increase in coverage of protected areas, both terrestrial and marine, over the past
decade. However, many ecological regions, particularly in marine ecosystems, remain underprotected, and
Most species with limited
population size effectiveness
and distribution are
further areas
reduced,remains
while some
common
the management
of being
protected
variable.
Trends in abundance and
distribution of selected
species
and invasive species become more common.
(but limited number of taxa assessed)
EcosystemChange
integrity
and ecosystem goods and The
services
in status of
risk of extinction increases for many threatened species, although some species recovery programmes
threatened
species
Marine
Trophic
Index
Trends
in genetic diversity of domesticated
animals, cultivated plants, and fish species
of major socio-economic importance
Coverage of protected areas
Connectivity – fragmentation
of ecosystems
have been very successful.
Despite intense pressure the Marine Trophic Index has shown a modest
(for those species assessed)
increase globally since 1970. However
there is substantial regional variation with declines being recorded in half of the marine areas with data.
the
global increases
may indicate
a recovery
it isand
more
It is likely that the Although
genetic variety
of cultivated
species is declining,
but the extent
of such decline
its likely a consequence of fishing fleets
their areas of activity, thus encountering fish stocks in which larger predators have not yet been
overall impacts are expanding
not well understood.
(although manyremoved
case studiesinwith
a high
degree of certainty are available)
large
numbers.
There has been a significant increase in coverage of protected areas, both terrestrial and marine, over the past
Most terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are becoming increasingly fragmented, despite an
decade. However, many ecological regions, particularly in marine ecosystems, remain underprotected, and
recognition
of the value
of corridors
the management effectiveness
of protected
areas remains
variable.and connections, especially in climate change adaptation.
Ecosystem integrity and ecosystem goods and services
Water quality of aquatic
Marine
ecosystems
Trophic
Index
increased
Most parts of the world are likely to be suffering from declines in water quality, although quality in some
Despite intense pressure the Marine Trophic Index has shown a modest increase globally since 1970. However
areas has improved through control of point-source pollution.
there is substantial regional variation with declines being recorded in half of the marine areas with data.
Although the global increases may indicate a recovery it is more likely a consequence of fishing fleets
expanding their areas of activity, thus encountering fish stocks in which larger predators have not yet been
removed in large numbers.
Threats to biodiversity
Connectivity – fragmentation
Nitrogen deposition
of ecosystems
Most terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are becoming increasingly fragmented, despite an increased
Human
activityand
has
doubled the
rate of
creation
of reactive
nitrogen on the planet’s surface. Pressure on biodiverrecognition of the value
of corridors
connections,
especially
in climate
change
adaptation.
Water quality of aquatic
ecosystems
Most parts of the world are likely to be suffering from declines in water quality, although quality in some
areas has improved through control of point-source pollution.
sity from nutrient pollution continues to increase, although some measures to use nutrients more efficiently, to
reduce their release into water and the atmosphere, are beginning to show positive effects.
Trends in invasive
alien species
The number and rate of spread of alien species is increasing in all continents and all ecosystem types.
(although many case studies with a high degree of certainty are available)
Threats to biodiversity
Nitrogen deposition
Sustainable use
Area of forest, agricultural and
aquaculture
Trends
in invasive ecosystems under
aliensustainable
species
management
Human activity has doubled the rate of creation of reactive nitrogen on the planet’s surface. Pressure on biodiversity from nutrient pollution continues to increase, although some measures to use nutrients more efficiently, to
reduce their release into water and the atmosphere, are beginning to show positive effects.
There are considerable efforts under way to increase the extent of areas of land under sustainable manage-
ment.
Regional
efforts
on sustainable
forest
are expected to contribute to this. Traditional
The number and rate
of spread
of alien species
is increasing
in all continents
andmanagement
all ecosystem types.
(although many
case studies
with a highare
degree
of certainty
are available)
agricultural
practices
being
maintained
and revitalized as the demand for ethical and healthy products
increases. However, these are still relatively small niches and major efforts are required to substantially
increase the areas under sustainable management.
Sustainable use
AreaEcological
of forest, agricultural
andand
footprint
aquaculture
ecosystems under
concepts
sustainable management
under way
to increaseofthe
extent of areas
of land under Efforts
sustainable
related There are considerable
Theefforts
ecological
footprint
humanity
is increasing.
atmanageincreasing resource efficiency are more than
ment. Regional efforts
on sustainable
management
are expected
this.
Traditional
compensated
byforest
increased
consumption
bytoa contribute
growing to
and
more
prosperous human population.
agricultural practices are being maintained and revitalized as the demand for ethical and healthy products
increases. However, these are still relatively small niches and major efforts are required to substantially
increase the areas under sustainable management.
Status of traditional
knowledge, innovations and practices
Ecological footprint and related
The ecological footprint of humanity is increasing. Efforts at increasing resource efficiency are more than
concepts
Status
compensated by increased
by minority
a growing and
more prosperous
human population.
and trends of linguistic
A largeconsumption
number of
languages
are believed
in danger of disappearing, and linguistic diversity is very
diversity and numbers of speakers
likely declining.
of indigenous languages
(although case studies with a high degree of certainty are available)
Status of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices
Status and trends of linguistic
A large number of minority languages are believed in danger of disappearing, and linguistic diversity is very
likely declining.
(although case studies with a high degree of certainty are available)
Status of access
benefitofsharing
diversityand
and numbers
speakers
?
of indigenous languages
Indicator of access and
to be
developed
The need and possible options for additional indicators are being examined by the Ad Hoc Open-ended
Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing.
benefit-sharing
Status of access and
benefit sharing
?
Indicator of access and
benefit-sharing to be
The need and possible options for additional indicators are being examined by the Ad Hoc Open-ended
Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing.
developed transfers
Status of resources
Official
development
Status of resources
transfers
assistance
(ODA) provided in support of the
Official development assistance
Convention
(ODA) provided in support of the
Convention
Negative changes
Negative changes
Degree ofof
certainty:
Degree
certainty: Low
Low
No clear global trend. Positive and negative
and negative
Positive changesNo clear global trend. Positive
changes
are occurring depending
on the region
Insufficient information
to reach
changes are occurring depending on the region
or
biome
considered
a definitive conclusion.
or biome considered
?
Positive changes
Medium
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 22
The volume of ODA for biodiversity has increased over the past few years.
The volume of ODA for biodiversity has increased over the past few years.
Medium High
High
?
Insufficient information to reach
a definitive conclusion.
BOX 3 Why biodiversity matters
Biodiversity is the variation that exists not just between the species of plants, animals, micro-organisms and other forms of life on the planet – but
also within species, in the form of genetic diversity, and at the level of ecosystems in which species interact with one another and with the physical
environment.
This diversity is of vital importance to people, because it underpins a wide range of ecosystem services on which human societies have always
depended, although their importance has often been greatly undervalued or ignored. When elements of biodiversity are lost, ecosystems become
less resilient and their services threatened. More homogeneous, less varied landscapes or aquatic environments are often more vulnerable to
sudden external pressures such as disease and climatic extremes.
Ecosystem services can be divided into four categories:
✤ provisioning services, or the supply of goods of direct
✤ regulating services, the range of vital functions carried out
✤ cultural services, not providing direct material benefits,
✤ supporting services, not of direct benefit to people but
benefit to people, and often with a clear monetary value,
such as timber from forests, medicinal plants, and fish
from the oceans, rivers and lakes.
but contributing to wider needs and desires of society, and
therefore to people’s willingness to pay for conservation.
They include the spiritual value attached to particular ecosystems such as sacred groves, and the aesthetic beauty of
landscapes or coastal formations that attract tourists.
by ecosystems which are rarely given a monetary value in
conventional markets. They include regulation of climate
through the storing of carbon and control of local rainfall, the
removal of pollutants by filtering the air and water, and protection from disasters such as landslides and coastal storms.
essential to the functioning of ecosystems and therefore
indirectly responsible for all other services. Examples are
the formation of soils and the processes of plant growth.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 23
Species populations and extinction risks
Changes in the
abundance and
distribution of
species may
have serious
consequences
for human
societies
The population of wild vertebrate species fell by
an average of nearly one- third (31%) globally between 1970 and 2006, with the decline especially
severe in the tropics (59%) and in freshwater ecosystems (41%).
Observed trends in populations of wild species
include:
Trends in the average size of species populations, as measured by the Living Planet Index
(LPI), vary greatly between temperate and tropical regions, and between types of species [See
Figure 2]. Temperate species populations actually increased on average since 1970, and the
steady global decline since that date is accounted for entirely by a sharp fall in the tropics. This
does not necessarily mean tropical biodiversity
is in a worse state than in temperate regions: if
the index were to extend back centuries rather
than decades, populations of temperate species may have declined by an equal or greater
amount. Moreover, the increase in wild animal
populations in temperate regions may be linked
to widespread afforestation of former cropland
and pasture, and does not necessarily reflect
richer diversity of species. However, the current
rates of decline in global species abundance
a severe and ongoing loss of biodiverLivingrepresent
Planet Index
sity in tropical ecosystems.
✤B
ird populations in North American grasslands declined by nearly 40% between 1968
and 2003, showing a slight recovery over the
past five years; those in North American drylands have declined by nearly 30% since the
late 1960s.
2.0
Freshwater
✤F
armland bird populations in Europe have
declined by on average 50% since 1980.
✤O
f the 1,200 waterbird populations with
known trends, 44% are in decline.
✤4
2% of all amphibian species and 40% of bird
species are declining in population.
Living Planet Index
Livin
2.0
2.0
1.5
1.5
Marine
1.5
Marine temperate
ter temperate
Temperate
FIGURE 2 Living Planet Index
The global Living Planet Index (LPI), shown here by the middle line, has declined by more
than 30% since 1970, 1.0
suggesting that on average, vertebrate
populations fell by nearly
Marine
one-third during that period. The Tropical LPI (bottom line) shows a sharper decline, of
eshwater almost 60%. The Temperate LPI showed an increase of 15%, reflecting the recovery of
some species populations in temperate regions after substantial declines in the more distant past.
1.0
1.0
Global
Source: WWF/ Zoological Society of London
0.5
Marine tropical
0.5
0.5
Tropical
ater tropical
The LPI monitors more than 7,100 populations of over 2,300 species of mammals, birds, reptiles,
amphibians and fish from around the globe. The change in the size of these populations, relative to
1970 (1970 =1.0) is plotted over time. A stable Living Planet value would indicate that there is no overall
0.0
change in average species abundance, a necessary but not sufficient condition to indicate a halt in
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
biodiversity loss.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 24
0.0
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
0.0
19
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 25
Most future
scenarios project
continuing high
levels of extinctions
and loss of habitats
throughout this
century
Species in all groups with known trends are, on average, being driven closer to extinction, with amphibians facing the greatest risk and warm water
reef-building corals showing the most rapid deterioration in status. Among selected vertebrate,
invertebrate and plant groups, between 12% and
55% of species are currently threatened with extinction. Species of birds and mammals used for
food and medicine are on average facing a greater
extinction risk than those not used for such purposes. Preliminary assessments suggest that 23%
of plant species are threatened.
The most severe recent increase in extinction
risk has been observed among coral species,
probably due in large part to the widespread
bleaching of tropical reef systems in 1998, a
year of exceptionally-high sea temperatures.
Amphibians are on average the group most
threatened with extinction, due to a combination of habitat modification, changes in climate
and the fungal disease chytridiomycosis.
Conservation interventions have reduced the
extinction risk for some species, but they are
outnumbered by those species that are moving closer towards extinction. The Red List Index (RLI), which tracks the average extinction
risk of species over time, shows that all groups
that have been fully assessed for extinction risk
are becoming more threatened. [See Box 4 and
Figures 3, 4 and 5].
✤B
ird species have faced an especially steep
increase in extinction risk in South-East Asia,
on the Pacific Islands, polar regions and in
marine and coastal ecosystems.
Regional trends regarding the extinction risk of
species include:
✤M
ammals have also suffered the steepest
increase in risk of extinction in South and
South-East Asia, due to the combined impact
of hunting and loss of habitat. Between ecosystem types, marine mammals have faced
the steepest increase in risk, although freshwater mammals remain the most threatened.
✤ Amphibians have deteriorated in status fastest, and are in absolute terms at greatest risk
of extinction, in South and Central America
and the Caribbean.
Flamingoes congregating on
Lake Naivasha in the Kenyan
Rift Valley. They are among more
than 300 bird species supported
by this freshwater habitat, which
is designated for protection
under the Ramsar Convention
on Wetlands. Among the threats
facing the lake are over-abstraction
of water, linked partly to irrigation
of nearby flower farms. The lake
has also suffered from nutrient
and pesticide pollution, introduction of invasive alien species and
overfishing.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 26
BOX 4 How extinction risk is assessed
The IUCN Red list categories reflect the likelihood that a species may become extinct if current conditions persist. The risk status of species is based
on information generated from the work of thousands of species scientists from around the world.
Assessments follow a rigorous system which classifies species into one of eight categories: Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, Least Concern and Data Deficient. Those species that are classified as Critically Endangered, Endangered or
Vulnerable are considered to be threatened.
Species are assigned to categories of extinction risk using criteria with quantitative thresholds for population size and structure, rate of population
decline, range size and structure, and extinction risk as determined by modeling of population viability.
As of 2009, 47,677 species had been assessed and of these 36% are considered threatened with extinction; while of the 25,485 species in completely assessed groups (mammals, birds, amphibians, corals, freshwater crabs, cycads and conifers) 21% are considered threatened. Of 12,055
plant species assessed, 70% are threatened. However, plant species with a higher average extinction risk are over-represented in this sample.
2%
FIGURE 3 Proportion of species in
different threat categories
(875)
Proportion of all assessed species inNumber
different
of species
categories of extinction risk on the IUCN Red
50 000
List, based on data from 47,677 species.
7%
14%
(3 325)
(6 548)
10%
(4 891)
Source: IUCN
Number of species
50 000
Number of species
50 000
19%
40%
2%
(19 032)
(6 548)
(875)
4%
548)
7%
40 000
Threaten
Critically endangered
Extinct or
Extinct in the Wild30 000
8%
(3 325)
Near threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered
10%(3 931)
(4 891)
(3 325)
Data deficient 30 000
Least concern
10%
(4 891)
40%
%
9 075)
Data deficient
40 000
40 000
7%
(19 032)
91)
19%
(875)
14%
2%
(9 075)
Data deficient
Data deficient
Least
concern
19%
Data deficient
(9 075)
Least
concern
8%
Near threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered
(3 931) Critically endangered
Data deficient
Least concern
19%
(9 075)
Near threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered
8%
(3 931)
30 000
Threatened
20 000
20 000
Critically endangered
Extinct or
Extinct in the Wild
20 000
Critically endangered
Extinct or
Extinct in the Wild
Threatened
Least concern
Near threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered
Least concern Threatened
Near threatened
Near threatened
Extinct or
Extinct in the Wild
Vulnerable
10 000
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 27
Vulnerable
10 000
Threatened
FIGURE 4 Threat status of species in comprehensively assessed taxonomic groups
The number and proportion of species in different extinction risk categories in those taxonomic groups that have been comprehensively
assessed, or (for dragonflies and reptiles) estimated from a randomized sample of 1,500
species each. For corals, only warm water reefbuilding species are included in the assessment.
Number of species
10 000
Birds
Number of species
9 000
Source: IUCN
Amphibians
2 000
8 000
Data deficient
Least concern
7 000
Near threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered
1 500
Threatened
Amphibians
Critically endangered
Extinct or Extinct
in the Wild
Birds
6 000
Mammals
Mammals
5 000
1 000
4 000
3 000
500
2 000
Reptiles
Dragonflies
Freshwater crabs
Freshwater fish
Corals
Conifers
Cycads
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 28
Freshwater
crabs Reptiles
Corals
Conifers
1 000
0
0
Freshwater
fish
Dragonflies
Cycads
FIGURE 5 Red List Index
Red List Index
1.00
The proportion of warm-water coral, bird, mammal and amphibian species expected to survive into the near future without
additional conservation actions has declined over time. The
Red List Index (RLI) for all these species groups is decreasing.
Coral species are moving most rapidly towards greater extinction risk, while amphibians are, on average, the group most
threatened.
Corals
0.95
A Red List Index value of 1.0 indicates that all species in a
group would be considered as being of Least Concern, that is
not expected to become extinct in the near future. At the other
extreme, a value of 0 indicates that all species in a group have
gone extinct. A constant level of the index over time implies
that the extinction risk of species is constant, and if the rate of
biodiversity loss were reducing, the lines on this figure would
show an upward slope.
Birds
0.90
Source: IUCN
Data deficient
Least concern
Near threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered
0.85
Critically
endangered
Extinct or Extinct
in the Wild
Threatened
Mammals
0.80
Amphibians
0.75
0.70
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 29
Species of birds and mammals used for food
and medicines are on average facing a greater
extinction risk than species as a whole, through
a combination of over-exploitation, habitat
loss and other factors. Species of bird, mammal and amphibians that are exploited for food
and medicines are also moving more quickly
into a higher risk category. This emphasizes the
threat posed by biodiversity loss to the health
and well-being of millions of people directly dependent on the availability of wild species. For
example the World Health Organization has
estimated that 60% of children suffering from
fever in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Zambia are
treated at home with herbal medicines while in
one part of Nepal, 450 plant species are commonly used locally for medicinal purposes.
Globally some 80 per cent of people in developing countries rely on traditional medicines, the
majority of which are derived from plants. Although global data for plants are not available,
medicinal plants face a high risk of extinction in
those parts of the world where people are most
dependent on them for health care and income
from wild collection – namely Africa, Asia, the
Pacific and South America [See Figure 6].
Percentage
100
80
FIGURE 6 Conservation status of medicinal
plant species in different geographic regions
60
The greatest risk of extinction occurs in those regions,
Africa, South America and the Pacific, where medicinal
plants are most widely used.
Source: IUCN
40
20
0
Australasia Europe
Extinct
Asia
Threatened
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 30
North Pacific Southern Africa
America
America
Not Threatened
Data deficient
The use of herbal medicine has a long tradition amongst all mountain communities
in the Himalayan region. It involves a diversity of indigenous knowledge and cultural
beliefs and constitutes an important basis
for the development of society.
Cultivation of Himalayan mayapple (Podophyllum hexandrum) in Zhongdian, Yunnan Province, China. The species was
scientifically validated to contain anti-cancerous compounds which led to high demand and large-scale collection from the
wild. A few villagers embarked on cultivation of the species but economic benefits
turned out to be limited.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 31
Terrestrial ecosystems
Well-targeted
policies focusing
on critical areas,
species and
ecosystem
services are
essential to
avoid the most
dangerous
impacts on
people and
societies
Tropical forests continue to be lost at a rapid rate,
although deforestation has recently slowed in
some countries. Net loss of forests has slowed substantially in the past decade, largely due to forest
expansion in temperate regions.
bal forest biodiversity. Between 2000 and 2010,
the global extent of primary forest (that is, substantially undisturbed) declined by more than
400,000 square kilometres, an area larger than
Zimbabwe.
The best information on terrestrial habitats relates to forests, which currently occupy approximately 31 per cent of the Earth’s land surface.
Forests are estimated to contain more than
half of terrestrial animal and plant species, the
great majority of them in the tropics, and account for more than two-thirds of net primary
production on land – the conversion of solar energy into plant matter.
South America and Africa continued to have
the largest net loss of forests in 2000-2010. Oceania also reported a net loss of forests, while
the area of forest in North and Central America (treated as a single region) was estimated
to be almost the same in 2010 as in 2000. The
forest area in Europe continued to expand, although at a slower rate than in the 1990s. Asia,
which had a net loss in the 1990s, reported a net
gain of forests in the period 2000–2010, primarily due to large-scale afforestation reported by
China, and despite continued high rates of net
loss of forests in many countries in South and
Southeast Asia.
Deforestation, mainly conversion of forests to
agricultural land, is showing signs of decreasing in several tropical countries [See Box 5
and Figure 7], but continues at an alarmingly
high rate. Just under 130,000 square kilometres
of forest were converted to other uses or lost
through natural causes each year from 2000 to
2010, compared to nearly 160,000 square kilometres per year in the 1990s. The net loss of
forests has slowed substantially, from approximately 83,000 square kilometres per year in
the 1990s to just over 50,000 square kilometres
per year from 2000-2010. This is mainly due to
large-scale planting of forests in temperate regions and to natural expansion of forests. Since
newly-planted forests often have low biodiversity value and may only include a single tree
species, a slowing of net forest loss does not
necessarily imply a slowing in the loss of glo-
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 32
The conifer-dominated boreal forests of high
Northern latitudes have remained broadly stable in extent in recent years. However, there are
signs in some regions that they have become
degraded. In addition, both temperate and boreal forests have become more vulnerable to
outbreaks of pests and diseases, due in part to
an increase in winter temperatures. For example
an unprecedented outbreak of the mountain
pine beetle has devastated more than 110,000
square kilometres of forest in Canada and the
Western United States since the late 1990s.
BOX 5 The Brazilian Amazon – a slowing trend for deforestation
The most recent satellite data suggest that annual deforestation of the Brazilian
portion of the Amazon has slowed significantly, from a peak of more than 27,000
square kilometres in 2003-4 to just over 7,000 square kilometres in 2008-9, a
decrease of over 74 per cent.
However, the same satellite images indicate that a growing area of the Amazon
forest is becoming degraded. The 2008-9 deforestation figure, the lowest since
satellite monitoring began in 1988, may have been influenced by the economic
recession, as well as by actions taken by the government, private sector and civil
society organizations to control deforestation; but the average from 2006-9 was
more than 40 per cent below the average for the previous decade, indicating a
significant slowing of the trend. Cumulative deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon
is nevertheless substantial, reaching more than 17 per cent of the original forest
area, and even achievement of the existing government target of an 80 per cent
reduction in annual deforestation by 2020 (from the 1996-2005 average) would
bring the cumulative loss of forest to nearly 20 per cent. According to a recent
study co-ordinated by the World Bank, 20% Amazon deforestation would be sufficient to trigger significant dieback of forest in some parts of the biome by 2025,
when coupled with other pressures such as climate change and forest fires.
FIGURE 7 Annual and cumulative deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon
Deforestation in km2
% lost
20
30 000
Cumulative forest loss
25 000
15
20 000
Forest loss per year
15 000
10
10 000
5
5 000
0
0
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
2015
2020
The darker bars represent the actual area of the Brazilian portion of the Amazon deforested each year between 1990 and 2009 (figures on left
vertical axis), as observed from satellite images analysed by the National Space Research Agency (INPE). The lighter bars represent the projected
average annual rate required to fulfill the Brazilian government target to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020 (from the average between 1996
and 2005). The solid line shows cumulative total deforestation (figures on right vertical axis) as a percentage of the estimated original extent of the
Brazilian Amazon (4.1 million km2).
Source: Brazilian National Space Research Agency (INPE)
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 33
Savannas and grasslands, while less well documented, have also suffered severe declines.
The extent of other terrestrial habitats is less
well documented. It is estimated that more
than 95 per cent of North American grasslands
have been lost. Cropland and pasture have replaced nearly half of the cerrado, the woodlandsavanna biome of Central Brazil which has an
exceptionally rich variety of endemic plant species. Between 2002 and 2008, the cerrado was estimated to have lost more than 14,000 square
kilometres per year, or 0.7% of its original extent annually, well above the current rate of
loss in the Amazon.
The Miombo woodlands of Southern Africa,
another savanna region with significant plant
diversity, are also experiencing continued deforestation. Stretching from Angola to Tanzania
and covering an area of 2.4 million square kilometres (the size of Algeria), the Miombo provide
firewood, building material and extensive supplies of wild food and medicinal plants to local
communities across the region. The woodlands
are threatened by clearing land for agriculture,
extraction of wood to make charcoal, and uncontrolled bush fires.
BOX 6 Traditional managed landscapes and biodiversity
Agricultural landscapes maintained by farmers and herders using locally adapted practices not only maintain relatively high crop and livestock genetic
diversity, but may also support distinctive wild biodiversity. These types of landscapes are found worldwide and are maintained through the application
of a wide array of traditional knowledge and cultural practices which have evolved in parallel, creating landscapes with globally significant agricultural
biodiversity.
Examples of these types of systems include:
ice-fish agriculture practiced in China
R
has been used since at least the Han Dynasty, 2,000 years ago. In this system, fish
are kept in wet rice fields providing fertilizer,
softening soils and eating larvae and weeds,
while the rice provides shade and food for
the fish. The high quality of the fish and rice
produced from this system directly benefits
farmers through high nutrition, lower labour
costs and reducing the need for chemical
fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 34
In the valleys of Cusco and Puno in
Peru the Quechua and the Aymara peoples employ a form of terracing which allow
them to grow various crops, such as maize
and potatoes, as well as graze animals
on steep slopes at altitudes ranging from
2,800 to 4,500 meters. This system supports as many as 177 varieties of potato,
domesticated over many generations. It
also helps to control soil erosion.
Japan’s Satoyama landscapes are small
mosaics composed of various types of ecosystems including secondary woodlands,
irrigation ponds, rice paddies, pastures and
grasslands, from which landholders have
traditionally harvested resources including
plants, fish, fungi, leaf litter and wood, in
a sustainable way. Satoyama landscapes
have evolved out of the long term interaction between people and the environment.
Activities such as the periodic clearing of
forests and the harvesting of forest litter,
prevent the system from being dominated
by a few species and allow for a greater
diversity of species to exist in the system.
Abandonment of traditional agricultural practices
may cause loss of cultural landscapes and associated biodiversity.
Traditional techniques of managing land for agriculture, some dating back thousands of years,
have served an important function in keeping
human settlements in harmony with the natural resources on which people depend [See Box
6]. In many parts of the world, these systems
are being lost, due partly to the intensification of production, and partly to abandonment
linked to migration from rural to urban areas. In
some cases, this trend may create opportunities
for biodiversity through the re-establishment
of natural ecosystems on abandoned farmland.
However, the changes may also involve important losses of distinctive biodiversity, among
both domesticated and wild species, and of
ecosystem services provided by managed landscapes.
Terrestrial habitats have become highly fragmented, threatening the viability of species and their
ability to adapt to climate change.
Ecosystems across the planet, including some
with exceptionally high levels of biodiversity, have
become severely fragmented, threatening the
long-term viability of many species and ecosystem
services. Global data regarding this process are
hard to obtain, but some well-studied ecosystems
provide illustrations of the scale of fragmentation
and its impacts. For example, the remaining South
American Atlantic Forest, estimated to contain up
to eight per cent of all terrestrial species, is largely
composed of fragments less than one square kilometre in size. More than 50 per cent lies within 100
metres of the forest edge.
When ecosystems become fragmented they
may be too small for some animals to establish
a breeding territory, or force plants and animals
to breed with close relatives. The in-breeding of
species can increase vulnerability to disease by
reducing the genetic diversity of populations.
A study in the central Amazon region of Brazil
found that forest fragments of less than one
square kilometre lost half of their bird species in
less than fifteen years. In addition, isolated fragments of habitat make species vulnerable to climate change, as their ability to migrate to areas
with more favourable conditions is limited.
One-quarter of the world’s land is becoming degraded.
The condition of many terrestrial habitats is deteriorating. The Global Analysis of Land Degradation and Improvement estimated that nearly
one quarter (24%) of the world’s land area was
undergoing degradation, as measured by a decline in primary productivity, over the period
1980-2003. Degrading areas included around
30% of all forests, 20% of cultivated areas and
10% of grasslands. Geographically they were
found mainly in Africa south of the Equator,
South-East Asia and southern China, north-central Australia, the Pampas grasslands in South
America, and parts of the Siberian and North
American boreal forests. Around 16 per cent of
land was found to be improving in productivity,
the largest proportion (43%) being in rangelands.
The areas where a degrading trend was observed
barely overlapped with the 15% of land identified as degraded in 1991, indicating that new areas are being affected and that some regions of
historical degradation remain at stubbornly low
levels of productivity. About 1.5 billion people directly depend on ecosystem services provided by
areas that are undergoing degradation. The decline in fixation of carbon from the atmosphere
associated with this degradation is estimated at
nearly a billion tonnes from 1980 to 2003, (almost the equivalent of annual carbon dioxide
emissions from the European Union) and emissions from the loss of soil carbon are likely to
have been many times greater.
Despite more than 12 per cent of land now being
covered by protected areas, nearly half (44%) of
terrestrial eco-regions fall below 10 per cent protection, and many of the most critical sites for biodiversity lie outside protected areas. Of those protected areas where effectiveness of management
has been assessed, 13% were judged to be clearly
inadequate, while more than one fifth demonstrated sound management, and the remainder were
classed as “basic”.
An increasing proportion of global land surface
has been designated as protected areas [See
Box 7 and Figure 8]. In total, some 12.2% enjoys
legal protection, made up of more than 120,000
protected areas. However, the target of protecting at least 10% of each the world’s ecological
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 35
regions – aimed at conserving a representative
sample of biodiversity – is very far from being
met. Of the 825 terrestrial ecoregions, areas containing a large proportion of shared species and
distinct habitat types, only 56% have 10% or more
of their area protected [See Figure 10].
The existing protected area network also excludes many locations of special importance to
biodiversity. For example, complete legal protection is given to only 26% of Important Bird Areas
(IBAs), sites with significant populations of spe-
cies that are threatened, have restricted geographical ranges, are confined to a single biome,
or congregate in large numbers to feed or breed.
Of nearly 11,000 IBAs in 218 countries, on average
some 39% of their area is included in protected
areas. Similarly, only 35% of sites holding the entire population of one or more highly threatened
species are fully covered by protected areas [See
Box 8 and Figure 9]. However, the proportion of
both of these categories of sites under legal protection has increased significantly in recent years.
BOX 7 Terrestrial protected areas
Of the governments that have recently reported to the CBD, 57% say they now have protected areas equal to or above the 10% of their land areas.
A few countries have made a disproportionate contribution towards the growth of the global protected area network: of the 700,000 square kilometres
designated as protected areas since 2003, nearly three-quarters lie in Brazil, largely the result of the Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) programme.
ARPA involves a partnership between Brazilian federal and state authorities, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the German Government and the
Global Environment Facility (GEF). It aims to consolidate 500,000 square kilometres of protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon over a period of 10 years,
at an estimated cost of US$ 390 million.
Other very significant increases have occurred in Canada, where more than 210,000 square kilometres have been added to the protected areas network
since 2002, and in Madagascar, where the size of protected areas has gone up from 17,000 square kilometres to 47,000 square kilometres since 2003.
Millions km2
20
FIGURE 8 Extent of nationally
designated protected areas
Growth in nationally designated protected areas (1970-2008)
18
16
Total terrestrial area protected
Terrestrial area protected with known year of establishment
The surface area of land and ocean
designated as protected areas
has steadily increased since 1970.
While the extent of terrestrial protected areas is still much greater
than that of marine protected areas,
the latter have expanded significantly in recent years, concentrated
in coastal waters.
Total marine area protected
14
Marine area protected with known year of establishment
12
10
8
Only protected areas with a known year
of establishment are represented in this
graph. An additional 3.9 million square
kilometres of land and 100,000 square
kilometres of ocean are covered by protected areas whose date of establishment is not known. This brings the total
coverage of protected areas to more
than 21 million square kilometres.
6
4
2
0
1970
1975
1980
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 36
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005 2008
Total
Source: UNEP-WCMC
BOX 8 Protecting the Noah’s arks of biodiversity
The Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) has identified 595 sites worldwide
whose protection is critical to the survival of hundreds of species. The sites
contain the entire global population of 794 Critically Endangered or Endangered species of mammals, birds, selected reptiles, amphibians and conifers. These species are considered likely to become extinct unless direct
and urgent action is taken at these sites. The sites are concentrated in tropical forests, islands and mountainous ecosystems. Most are surrounded by
intensive human development, and all are small, making them vulnerable to
human activities.
Only about one-third (36%) are fully contained in gazetted protected areas,
and on average, 44% of the area covered by these sites was protected by
2009. More than half of AZE sites (53%) lack any legal protection, representing a significant gap in the protection of sites critical to biodiversity. However,
the current level of protection is significantly better than in 1992, when only a
third of the area of AZE sites was protected, and just over a quarter of sites
(27%) enjoyed full legal protection.
FIGURE 9 Protection of critical biodiversity sites
Percentage
50
Average
area protected
40
Sites completely
protected
30
20
10
Alliance for Zero Extinction sites
0
1970
1975
1980
1985
1990
1995
2000
2005
2010
The average proportion of AZE sites within protected areas, and the number of AZE sites completely protected, have increased steadily since the 1970s.
However, the majority of the area covered by the AZE sites remains outside protected areas.
Source: Alliance for Zero Extinction
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 37
FIGURE 10 Coverage of terrestrial protected areas by ecoregion
Note: Antarctica is a special case with an international treaty strictly regulating human activities, and the light
colouring shown on this map should not be interpreted as implying a low level of actual protection.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 38
Fifty-six per cent of 825 terrestrial ecoregions (regions with areas containing a large proportion of shared species and distinct habitat types) have 10% or
more of their area included in protected areas, the proportion set as a sub-target towards achieving the 2010 biodiversity target. The lighter colouring on
the map represents ecoregions with relatively low levels of protection.
Source: UNEP-WCMC
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 39
Clearly, the benefit to biodiversity from protected
areas depends critically on how well they are managed. A recent global assessment of management
effectiveness has found that of 3,080 protected
areas surveyed, only 22% were judged “sound”,
13% “clearly inadequate”, and 65% demonstrated
“basic” management. Common weaknesses identified in the assessment were lack of staff and resources, inadequate community engagement and
programmes for research, monitoring and evaluation. Aspects relating to basic establishment of
the reserves and maintaining the values of the
protected area were found to be quite strong.
BOX 9 Cultural and biological diversity
Cultural and biological diversity are closely intertwined. Biodiversity is at the
centre of many religions and cultures, while worldviews influence biodiversity
through cultural taboos and norms which influence how resources are used
and managed. As a result for many people biodiversity and culture cannot
be considered independently of one another. This is particularly true for the
more than 400 million indigenous and local community members for whom
the Earth’s biodiversity is not only a source of wellbeing but also the foundation of their cultural and spiritual identities. The close association between
biodiversity and culture is particularly apparent in sacred sites, those areas
which are held to be of importance because of their religious or spiritual significance. Through the application of traditional knowledge and customs unique
and important biodiversity has often been protected and maintained in many
of these areas over time. For example:
✤ In the Kodagu district of Karnataka State, India, sacred groves maintain
significant populations of threatened trees such as Actinodaphne lawsonii
and Hopea ponga. These groves are also home to unique microfungi.
✤ In central Tanzania a greater diversity of woody plants exists in sacred
groves than in managed forests.
✤ In Khawa Karpo in the eastern Himalayas trees, found in sacred sites have
a greater overall size than those found outside such areas.
✤ C
oral reefs near Kakarotan and Muluk Village in Indonesia are periodically
closed to fishing by village elders or chiefs. The reef closures ensure that
food resources are available during periods of social significance. The average length and biomass of fish caught in both areas has been found to
be greater than that at control sites.
✤ S
trict rituals, specific harvesting requirements and locally enshrined enforcement of permits regulate the amount of bark collected from Rytigynia
kigeziensis (right), an endemic tree in the Albertine Rift of western Uganda
which plays a central role in local medicine. This keeps bark collection
within sustainable limits.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 40
Indigenous and local communities play a significant role in conserving very substantial areas of
high biodiversity and cultural value.
In addition to officially-designated protected areas, there are many thousand Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) across the world, including
sacred forests, wetlands, and landscapes, village lakes, catchment forests, river and coastal
stretches and marine areas [See Box 9]. These
are natural and/or modified ecosystems of significant value in terms of their biodiversity, cultural significance and ecological services. They
are voluntarily conserved by indigenous and
local communities, through customary laws or
other effective means, and are not usually included in official protected area statistics.
Globally, four to eight million square kilometres
(the larger estimate is an area bigger than Australia) are owned or administered by communities. In 18 developing countries with the largest
forest cover, over 22% of forests are owned by
or reserved for communities. In some of these
countries (for example Mexico and Papua New
Guinea) the community forests cover 80% of the
total. By no means all areas under community
control effectively conserved, but a substantial
portion are. In fact, some studies show that levels of protection are actually higher under community or indigenous management than under
government management alone.
BOX 10 What is at stake?
Some estimated values of terrestrial biodiversity
✤ The Southern Africa tourism industry, based to a large extent on wildlife viewing, was estimated to be worth US$ 3.6 billion in 2000.
✤ It has been estimated that the real income of poor people in India rises from US$ 60 to $95 when the value of ecosystem services such as water
availability, soil fertility and wild foods is taken into account – and that it would cost US$ 120 per capita to replace lost livelihood if these services
were denied.
✤ Insects that carry pollen between crops, especially fruit and vegetables, are estimated to be worth more than US$ 200 billion per year to the
global food economy.
✤ Water catchment services to New Zealand’s Otago region (pictured below) provided by tussock grass habitats in the 22,000 hectare Te Papanui
Conservation Park are valued at more than US$ 95 million, based on the cost of providing water by other means.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 41
Inland water ecosystems
Increasingly,
restoration of
ecosystems will
be needed to
re-establish
ecosystem
functioning and
the provision of
valuable services
Inland water ecosystems have been dramatically
altered in recent decades. Wetlands throughout the
world have been and continue to be lost at a rapid
rate.
Rivers and their floodplains, lakes and wetlands
have undergone more dramatic changes than
any other type of ecosystem, due to a combination of human activities including drainage
for agriculture, abstraction of water for irrigation, industrial and household use, the input of
nutrients and other pollutants, introduction of
alien species and the damming of rivers.
Verifiable global data for loss of inland water
habitats as a whole are not available, but it is
known that shallow-water wetlands such as
marshes, swamps and shallow lakes have declined significantly in many parts of the world.
Documented examples of loss include:
✤B
etween 56% and 65% of inland water systems suitable for use in intensive agriculture in Europe and North America had been
drained by 1985. The respective figures for
Asia and South America were 27% and 6%.
✤7
3% of marshes in northern Greece have been
drained since 1930.
The Lower Jordan River
Basin has been drastically
altered by abstractions
for irrigation and growing cities: 83% of its flow
is consumed before it
reaches the Dead Sea.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 42
✤6
0% of the original wetland area of Spain has
been lost.
✤ The Mesopotamian marshes of Iraq lost more
than 90% of their original extent between the
1970s and 2002, following a massive and systematic drainage project. Following the fall of
the former Iraqi regime in 2003 many drainage structures have been dismantled, and
the marshes were reflooded to approximately
58% of their former extent by the end of 2006,
with a significant recovery of marsh vegetation.
Water quality shows variable trends, with improvements in some regions and river basins being offset by serious pollution in many densely-populated
areas.
Water quality in freshwater ecosystems, an important biodiversity indicator, shows variable
trends, and global data are very incomplete.
Relevant information about pollution loads and
changes in water quality is lacking precisely
where water use is most intense – in densely
populated developing countries. As a result, the
serious impacts of polluting activities on the
health of people and ecosystems remain largely
unreported.
In some areas, depletion and pollution of economically important water resources have
gone beyond the point of no return, and coping
with a future without reliable water resources
systems is now a real prospect in parts of the
world. UNESCO’s Third World Water Development Report predicts that nearly half of humanity will be living in areas of high water
stress by 2030.
and India. Rivers in arid regions also tend to be
highly fragmented, as scarce water supplies have
often been managed through the use of dams
and reservoirs. Rivers flow most freely in the lesspopulated areas of Alaska, Canada and Russia,
and in small coastal basins in Africa and Asia.
This fragmentation is important because so
much of the variety of freshwater life is determined by the connections formed between different parts of a river basin, as water, sediments
and nutrients flow in dynamic rhythms of flood
and interaction with tidal zones on the coast.
More than 40% of the global river discharge is
now intercepted by large dams and one-third
of sediment destined for the coastal zones no
longer arrives. These large-scale disruptions
have had a major impact on fish migration,
freshwater biodiversity more generally and the
services it provides. They also have a significant
influence on biodiversity in terrestrial, coastal
and marine ecosystems.
Pollution control through sewage treatment and
regulation of industrial effluent has had significant success in improving water quality in
many inland water ecosystems [See Figure 11],
although such progress has so far been very limited in developing countries. Pollution originating from diffuse or non-point sources (particularly from agriculture) remains a significant and
growing problem in many parts of the world.
Of 292 large river systems, two-thirds have become
moderately or highly fragmented by dams and reservoirs.
Inland water ecosystems are often poorly served
by the terrestrial protected areas network, which
rarely takes account of upstream and downstream
impacts. Governments are reporting increased
concern about the ecological condition of wetland
sites of international importance (Ramsar sites).
Rivers are becoming increasingly fragmented,
often with severe disruption to their flows. The
most fragmented rivers are in industrialized regions like much of the United States and Europe,
and in heavily-populated countries such as China
Percentage
100
90
80
FIGURE 11 Malaysia river basin quality
Since 1997, the proportion of river basins in Malaysia classified as clean has been increasing.
Source: Malaysia Department of Environment
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
1990
1992
Polluted
1994
1996
1998
Slightly polluted
2000
2002
2004
2006
2008
Clean
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 43
Assessing the proportion of inland water biodiversity covered effectively by the existing
network of protected areas is difficult. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment estimated that
12% of the area of the world’s inland waters
was included within protected areas. This does
not, however, give an accurate indication of the
proportion of the world’s river basins that enjoy
protection, since the state of freshwater biodiversity at a particular location will often depend on activities far upstream or downstream
– such as pollution, abstraction of water, the
building of dams and deforestation.
Governments of 159 countries have ratified the
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, currently
committed to conserving 1,880 wetlands of international importance, covering over 1.8 million square kilometres, and to the sustainable
use of wetland resources generally. The condition of these wetland protected areas continues to deteriorate, with the majority of governments reporting an increased need to address
adverse ecological changes in 2005-8, compared with the previous three-year period. The
countries reporting the greatest concern about
the condition of wetlands were in the Americas
and Africa.
In Denmark, 40 square
kilometres of meadow
and marsh in the
Skjern River Valley were
drained in the 1960s for
agriculture. Since 2002,
more than half of the
area has been restored,
making the site nationally
important for migratory
birds. The benefits from
improved salmon fishing,
greater carbon sequestration, nutrient removal
and recreation have
offset the US$ 46 million
cost of the project.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 44
In many countries, steps are being taken to
restore wetlands, often involving reversals in
land-use policies by re-wetting areas that were
drained in the relatively recent past. A single
freshwater ecosystem can often provide multiple benefits such as purification of water, protection from natural disasters, food and materials for local livelihoods and income from
tourism. There is a growing recognition that
restoring or maintaining the natural functions
of freshwater systems can be a cost-effective
alternative to building physical infrastructure
for flood defenses or costly water treatment facilities.
BOX 11 What is at stake?
Some estimated values of inland water biodiversity
✤ T he Muthurajawela Marsh, a coastal wetland located in a densely populated area of Northern Sri Lanka, is estimated to be worth US$150 per hectare
for its services related to agriculture, fishing and firewood; US$ 1,907 per hectare for preventing flood damage, and US$ 654 per hectare for industrial
and domestic wastewater treatment.
✤ T he Okavango Delta in Southern Africa (pictured below) is estimated to generate US$ 32 million per year to local households in Botswana through use
of its natural resources, sales and income from the tourism industry. The total economic output of activities associated with the delta is estimated at
more than US$ 145 million, or some 2.6% of Botswana’s Gross National Product.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 45
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Coastal habitats such as mangroves, seagrass beds,
salt marshes and shellfish reefs continue to decline
in extent, threatening highly valuable ecosystem
services including the removal of significant quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; but
there has been some slowing in the rate of loss of
mangrove forests, except in Asia.
Some of the best-studied examples of recent
decline in the extent and integrity of marine
habitats are in coastal ecosystems of great
importance to human societies and economies. Coastal habitats have come under pressure from many forms of development including tourism and urban infrastructure, shrimp
farming and port facilities including dredging.
This is compounded by sea level rise, creating
what might be termed a “coastal squeeze”.
Mangrove forests are highly-productive ecosystems in the inter-tidal zones of many tropical
coastlines. They not only provide wood for local communities, but also act as nursery areas
for a wide range of commercially-valuable fish
and crustacean stocks, and act as vital energy
barriers, protecting low-lying coastal communities from offshore storms. The FAO estimates
that about one-fifth of the world’s mangroves,
covering 36,000 square kilometres, were lost
between 1980 and 2005. The rate at which mangroves are declining globally seems to have reduced more recently, although the loss is still
disturbingly high. During the 1980s, an average
of 1,850 square kilometres was lost each year.
In the 1990s the annual average dropped to
1,185 square kilometres, and from 2000-2005 it
was 1,020 square kilometres – a 45% reduction
in the annual rate of loss. The trend of reduced
rate of loss has not been observed in Asia,
which holds a larger proportion of remaining
mangroves than any other region.
Seagrass beds or meadows, fringing coastlines
throughout the world, perform a number of vital but under recognized ecosystem functions,
including support for commercial fisheries, a
food source for species such as manatees and
dugongs, and the stabilization of sediments. It
is estimated that some 29% of seagrass habitats
have disappeared since the 19th century, with
a sharp acceleration in recent decades. Since
1980, the loss of seagrass beds has averaged
approximately 110 square kilometres per year,
a rate of loss comparable to mangroves, coral
reefs and tropical forests.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 46
Salt marshes, important as natural storm barriers and as habitats for shorebirds, have lost
some 25% of the area they originally covered
globally, and current rates of loss are estimated
to be between one and two per cent per year.
Salt marshes are especially important ecosystems for removing carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere. For example in the United States
they are estimated to account for more than
one-fifth of the carbon absorbed by all ecosystems, despite covering a relatively small area.
Shellfish reefs are an even more threatened
coastal habitat, and play an important role in
filtering seawater and providing food and habitat for fish, crabs and seabirds. It is estimated
that 85% of oyster reefs have been lost globally,
and that they are functionally extinct in 37% of
estuaries and 28% of ecoregions.
The quantity of carbon buried each year by vegetated coastal habitats such as mangroves, salt
marshes and seagrass beds has been estimated
at between 120 and 329 million tonnes. The
higher estimate is almost equal to the annual
greenhouse gas emissions of Japan.
Tropical coral reefs have suffered a significant
global decline in biodiversity since the 1970s. Although the overall extent of living coral cover has
remained roughly in balance since the 1980s, it has
not recovered to earlier levels. Even where local recovery has occurred, there is evidence that the new
reef structures are more uniform and less diverse
than the ones they replaced.
Tropical coral reefs contribute significantly to
the livelihoods and security of coastal regions in
the areas where they occur, including through
tourism based on their aesthetic beauty, income
and nutrition from the fish species they support,
and protection of coastlines from storms and
waves.
Although they cover just 1.2% of the world’s continental shelves, it is estimated that between 500
million and more than one billion people rely on
coral reefs as a food resource. Around 30 million people in the poorest and most vulnerable
coastal and inland communities are entirely dependent on resources derived from coral reefs
for their wellbeing. They also support between
one and three million species, including approximately 25% of all marine fish species.
Coral reefs face multiple threats including from
overfishing, pollution from land-based sources,
dynamiting of reefs, disease outbreaks, “bleaching” from warmer sea temperatures as a result of climate change, and ocean acidification
linked to higher concentrations of dissolved
carbon dioxide as a consequence of humaninduced atmospheric emissions [See Box 12].
In the Indo-Pacific region, where the vast majority of corals occur, living coral cover fell rapidly from an estimated 47.7% of reef areas in
1980 to 26.5% in 1989, an average loss of 2.3%
per year. Between 1990 and 2004 it remained
relatively stable on many monitored reefs, averaging 31.4%. An indication of the long-term
decline of Indo-Pacific reefs is a drastic reduction in the proportion of reefs with at least half
of their area covered by living coral – it fell from
nearly two-thirds in the early 1980s to just four
per cent in 2004.
Living coral cover in Caribbean reefs dropped
by nearly half (from 38.2% to 20.8% living coral
cover) between 1972 and 1982, with a decline of
almost one-quarter (24.9%) occurring in a single year, 1981, a collapse presumed to be linked
with the outbreak of “white-band” coral disease
and the impacts of Hurricane Allen in Jamaica.
The overall decline of Caribbean reefs in the
1970s and early 80s has been followed by a period of stable living coral cover, with declines in
some areas being roughly balanced by recovery
in others. As in the Indo-Pacific region, there is
no sign of long-term recovery to earlier levels of
coral cover at the regional scale. It is also worth
noting that recovering coral communities appear to produce more simplified reef structures, suggesting a decline in their biodiversity,
as more complex structures tend to harbour a
greater variety of species.
There are increasing grounds for concern about
the condition and trends of biodiversity in deepwater habitats, although data are still scarce.
The condition of deep-water habitats such as
sea mounts and cold-water corals has started
to cause concern, as awareness increases of the
impacts of modern fishing technology, especially bottom-trawling, on previously inaccessible
ecosystems. Bottom-trawling and use of other
mobile fishing gear can have an impact on seabed habitats equivalent to the clear-cutting of
BOX 12 The Great Barrier Reef – a struggle for ecosystem resilience
Although it is among the healthiest and best-protected coral reef systems in the world, Australia’s Great
Barrier Reef has shown significant signs of decline and decreased resilience. The ecosystem continues
to be exposed to increased levels of sediments, nutrients and pesticides, which are having significant effects inshore close to developed coasts, such as causing die-backs of mangroves and increasing algae
on coral reefs.
There are no records of extinctions, but some species, such as dugongs, marine turtles, seabirds, black
teatfish and some sharks, have declined significantly. Disease in corals and pest outbreaks of crown-ofthorns starfish and cyanobacteria appear to be becoming more frequent and more serious. Coral reef
habitats are gradually declining, especially inshore as a result of poor water quality and the compounding
effects of climate change. Coral bleaching resulting from increasing sea temperature and lower rates of
calcification in skeleton-building organisms, such as corals, because of ocean acidification, are already
evident.
While significant improvements have been made in reducing the impacts of fishing in the Great Barrier
Reef, such as bycatch reduction devices, effort controls and closures, important risks to the ecosystem
remain from the targeting of predators, the death of incidentally caught species of conservation concern,
illegal fishing and poaching. The effects of losing predators, such as sharks and coral trout, as well further
reducing populations of herbivores, such as the threatened dugong, are largely unknown but have the
potential to alter food web interrelationships and reduce resilience across the ecosystem.
Even with the recent management initiatives to improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier
Reef is poor and catastrophic damage to the ecosystem may not be averted. Further building the resilience
of the Great Barrier Reef by improving water quality, reducing the loss of coastal habitats and increasing
knowledge about fishing and its effects, will give it the best chance of adapting to and recovering from the
serious threats ahead, especially those related to climate change.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 47
rainforests. Species from the deep ocean have
become increasingly targeted as more accessible fish stocks become depleted and more strictly regulated. For example preliminary estimates
suggest that between 30-50 % of the cold-water
coral reefs in the Exclusive Economic Zone of
Norway (that is, within 200 nautical miles of the
Norwegian coast) have been impacted or damaged by bottom trawling. Other documented
cases of damage caused by reef trawling have
been observed in the Faroe Islands, Denmark
and Iceland. All three countries have now closed
some coral areas to trawling.
Deep-water habitats are considered especially
vulnerable because species of the deep ocean
tend to be slow-growing and long-lived. Cold-water corals are also considered in some studies to
be particularly susceptible to impacts from ocean
acidification, as the combination of cold and acidity presents a double handicap in the formation of
calcified structures. However, knowledge of these
systems is still very limited, and data on their global status is not yet available.
About 80 percent of the world marine fish stocks for
which assessment information is available are fully
exploited or overexploited.
Fish stocks assessed since 1977 have experienced an 11% decline in total biomass globally,
with considerable regional variation. The average maximum size of fish caught declined by
22% since 1959 globally for all assessed communities. There is also an increasing trend of
stock collapses over time, with 14% of assessed
stocks collapsed in 2007.
In some ocean fisheries, larger predators have
been caught preferentially in such numbers that
their stocks do not recover, and there has been
a tendency for catches to become dominated by
smaller fish and invertebrates, a phenomenon
known as “fishing down the food web”. In the
long term, this compromises the capacity of marine ecosystems to provide for the needs of human communities.
FIGURE 12 China’s Marine Trophic Index
China’s Marine Trophic Index
3.55
Since the mid 1990s,
China’s Marine Trophic
Index has shown signs
of an increase. This follows a steep decline during the 1980s and early
1990s, resulting from
overfishing. The figures
suggest that although
the marine food web off
China may be recovering to some extent, it has
not returned to its former
condition.
3.50
3.45
3.40
3.35
3.30
Source: Chinese Ministry of
Environmental Protection
3.25
3.20
3.15
1950
1954
1958
1962
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 48
1966
1970
1974
1978
1982
1986
1990
1994
1998
2002
2006
Decades of catch records enable trends to be
recorded in the average position of caught fish
in the food web (the Marine Trophic Index), and
thus to monitor the ecological integrity of marine ecosystems, over time [See Figure 12]. Despite the intense pressure on fish stocks, the Index has shown an increase of 3% globally since
1970. However there is substantial regional
variation in the Marine Trophic Index, with declines being recorded since 1970 in half of the
marine areas with data, including in the world’s
coastal areas and the North Atlantic and in the
Southeast Pacific, Southeast Atlantic and Antarctic Indian Oceans. The largest proportional
increases are in the Mediterranean and Black
Seas, West Central Pacific and Southwest Pacific. Although these increases may indicate a recovery of higher predator species, they are more
likely a consequence of fishing fleets expanding
their areas of activity, thus encountering fish
stocks in which larger predators have not yet
been removed in such numbers.
While the extent of marine protected areas has
grown significantly, a small proportion (less than a
fifth) of marine ecoregions meet the target of having at least 10% of their area protected.
Protection of marine and coastal areas still lags
far behind the terrestrial protected area network, although it is growing rapidly. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) cover approximately half
of one per cent of the total ocean area, and 5.9
per cent of territorial seas (to 12 nautical miles
offshore). The open ocean is virtually unrepresented in the protected area network reflecting
the difficulty of establishing MPAs on the high
seas outside exclusive economic zones. Of 232
marine ecoregions, only 18% meet the target for
protected area coverage of at least 10%, while
half have less than 1% protection.
In various coastal and island regions, the use of
community-based protected areas, in which local and indigenous peoples are given a stake in
conservation of marine resources, are becoming increasingly widespread, and have shown
promising results [See Box 13].
BOX 13 Locally managed marine areas (LMMAs)
In the past decade, more than 12,000 square kilometres in the South Pacific have been brought under a
community-based system of marine resource management known as Locally-Managed Marine Areas.
The initiative involves 500 communities in 15 Pacific
Island States. It has helped achieve widespread livelihood and conservation objectives based on traditional
knowledge, customary tenure and governance, combined with local awareness of the need for action and
likely benefits. These benefits includes recovery of natural resources, food security, improved governance,
access to information and services, health benefits,
improved security of tenure, cultural recovery, and
community organization
Results of LMMA implementation in Fiji since 1997
have included: a 20-fold increase in clam density in
the tabu areas where fishing is banned; an average
of 200-300% increase in harvest in adjacent areas; a
tripling of fish catches; and 35-45% increase in household income.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 49
BOX 14 What is at stake?
Some estimated values of marine and coastal biodiversity
✤ The world’s fisheries employ approximately 200 million
✤ The value of the ecosystem services provided by coral
people, provide about 16% of the protein consumed
worldwide and have a value estimated at US$ 82 billion.
reefs ranges from more than US$ 18 million per square
kilometer per year for natural hazard management, up
to US$ 100 million for tourism, more than US$ 5 million
for genetic material and bioprospecting and up to US$
331,800 for fisheries.
✤ The annual economic median value of fisheries supported
✤ In the ejido (communally owned land) of Mexcaltitan, Na-
by mangrove habitats in the Gulf of California has been
estimated at US$ 37,500 per hectare of mangrove fringe.
The value of mangroves as coastal protection may be as
much as US$ 300,000 per kilometre of coastline.
yarit, Mexico, the direct and indirect value of mangroves
contribute to 56% of the ejido’s annual wealth increase.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 50
Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity is being lost in natural ecosystems and in systems of crop and livestock production. Important progress is being made to conserve
plant genetic diversity, especially using ex situ seed
banks.
The decline in species populations, combined
with the fragmentation of landscapes, inland
water bodies and marine habitats, have necessarily led to an overall significant decline in the
genetic diversity of life on Earth.
While this decline is of concern for many reasons, there is particular anxiety about the loss
of diversity in the varieties and breeds of plants
and animals used to sustain human livelihoods. A general homogenization of landscapes
and agricultural varieties can make rural populations vulnerable to future changes, if genetic
traits kept over thousands of years are allowed
to disappear.
An example of the reduction in crop diversity
can be found in China, where the number of local rice varieties being cultivated has declined
from 46,000 in the 1950s to slightly more than
1,000 in 2006. In some 60 to 70 per cent of the
areas where wild relatives of rice used to grow,
it is either no longer found or the area devoted
to its cultivation has been greatly reduced.
Significant progress has been made in ex situ
conservation of crops, that is the collection of
seeds from different genetic varieties for cataloguing and storage for possible future use. For
some 200 to 300 crops, it is estimated that over
70% of genetic diversity is already conserved in
gene banks, meeting the target set under the
Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. The UN
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has
also recognized the leading role played by plant
and animal breeders, as well as the curators of
ex situ collections, in conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources.
However, major efforts are still needed to
conserve genetic diversity on farms, to allow
continued adaptation to climate change and
other pressures. Additional measures are also
required to protect the genetic diversity of other species of social and economic importance,
including medicinal plants, non-timber forest
products, local landraces (varieties adapted
over time to particular conditions) and the wild
relatives of crops.
Standardized and high-output systems of animal
husbandry have led to an erosion of the genetic
diversity of livestock. At least one-fifth of livestock
breeds are at risk of extinction. The availability of
genetic resources better able to support future livelihoods from livestock may be compromised.
Twenty-one per cent of the world’s 7,000 livestock breeds (amongst 35 domesticated species
of birds and mammal) are classified as being
at risk, and the true figure is likely to be much
higher as a further 36 per cent are of unknown
risk status [See Figure 13]. More than 60 breeds
are reported to have become extinct during the
first six years of this century alone.
The reduction in the diversity of breeds has
so far been greatest in developed countries,
as widely-used, high-output varieties such as
Holstein-Friesian cattle come to dominate. In
many developing countries, changing market
demands, urbanization and other factors are
leading to a rapid growth of more intensive
animal production systems. This has led to the
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 51
increased use of non-local breeds, largely from
developed countries, and it is often at the expense of local genetic resources.
The continued
loss of
biodiversity
has major
implications for
current and
future human
well-being
Government policies and development programmes can make matters worse, if poorly
planned. A variety of direct and indirect subsidies tend to favour large-scale production at the
expense of small-scale livestock-keeping, and
the promotion of “superior” breeds will further
reduce genetic diversity. Traditional livestock
keeping, especially in drylands, is also threatened by degradation of pastures, and by the
loss of traditional knowledge through pressures
such as migration, armed conflict and the effects of HIV/AIDS.
Seed banks play an important role in conserving the
diversity of plant species
and crop varieties for future
generations. Among the most
ambitious programmes for
ex situ conservation are the
Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, initiated by the Royal
Botanic Gardens Kew and its
partners worldwide, which now
includes nearly 2 billion seeds
from 30,000 wild plant species,
mainly from drylands; and the
complementary Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which has been
constructed in Norway, close
to the Arctic Circle, to provide
the ultimate safety net against
accidental loss of agricultural
diversity in traditional gene
banks. The vault has capacity
to conserve 4.5 million crop
seed samples.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 52
The loss of genetic diversity in agricultural systems is of particular concern as rural communities face ever-greater challenges in adapting
to future climate conditions. In drylands, where
production is often operating at the limit of heat
and drought tolerances, this challenge is particularly stark. Genetic resources are critically
important for the development of farming systems that capture more carbon and emit lower
quantities of greenhouse gases, and for underpinning the breeding of new varieties. A breed
or variety of little significance now may prove to
be very valuable in the future. If it is allowed to
become extinct, options for future survival and
adaptation are being closed down forever.
FIGURE 13 Extinction risk of livestock breeds
Percentage
0
20
40
60
80
Chicken
100
Large numbers of breeds of
the five major species of livestock are at risk from extinction. More generally, among
35 domesticated species,
more than one-fifth of livestock breeds, are classified
as being at risk of extinction.
Source: FAO
Goat
Sheep
Pig
Cattle
Unknown
Not at risk
At risk
Extinct
Holstein-Friesian cattle are one of a
small number of livestock breeds that
are becoming increasingly dominant
worldwide, often replacing traditional
breeds and reducing genetic diversity.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 53
Kennecott Utah Copper's Bingham Canyon Mine is the world's largest man-made excavation. It is almost 4.5 kilometres
across and more than a kilometre deep. Open pit mining has been an important cause of habitat destruction in some regions. It is the type of activity increasingly subjected to environmental impact assessment. The Convention on Biological
Diversity recently agreed voluntary guidelines on the inclusion of biodiversity factors in such assessments.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 54
Current pressures on biodiversity and responses
The persistence and in some cases intensification of
the five principal pressures on biodiversity provide
more evidence that the rate of biodiversity loss is
not being significantly reduced. The overwhelming
majority of governments reporting to the CBD
cite these pressures or direct drivers as affecting
biodiversity in their countries.
They are:
✤ Habitat loss and degradation
✤ Climate change
✤ Excessive nutrient load and other forms
of pollution
✤ Over-exploitation and unsustainable use
✤ Invasive alien species
Habitat loss and degradation
Habitat loss and degradation create the biggest
single source of pressure on biodiversity worldwide. For terrestrial ecosystems, habitat loss is
largely accounted for by conversion of wild lands
to agriculture, which now accounts for some 30%
of land globally. In some areas, it has recently been
partly driven by the demand for biofuels.
The IUCN Red List assessments show habitat
loss driven by agriculture and unsustainable forest management to be the greatest cause of species moving closer towards extinction. The sharp
decline of tropical species populations shown in
the Living Planet Index mirrors widespread loss
of habitat in those regions. For example, in one
recent study the conversion of forest to oil palm
plantations was shown to lead to the loss of 7383% of the bird and butterfly species of the ecosystem. As noted above, birds face an especially
high risk of extinction in South-east Asia, the region that has seen the most extensive development of oil palm plantations, driven in part by
the growing demand for biofuel.
Infrastructure developments, such as housing,
industrial developments, mines and transport
networks, are also an important contributor to
conversion of terrestrial habitats, as is afforestation of non-forested lands. With more than half
of the world’s population now living in urban
areas, urban sprawl has also led to the disappearance of many habitats, although the higher
population density of cities can also reduce the
negative impacts on biodiversity by requiring the
direct conversion of less land for human habitation than more dispersed settlements.
Even though there are no signs at the global level
that habitat loss is declining significantly as a
driver of biodiversity loss, some countries have
shown that, with determined action, historically
persistent negative trends can be reversed. An
example of global significance is the recent reduction in the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, mentioned above.
For inland water ecosystems, habitat loss and degradation is largely accounted for by unsustainable
water use and drainage for conversion to other land
uses, such as agriculture and settlements.
The major pressure on water availability is abstraction of water for irrigated agriculture, which
uses approximately 70 per cent of the world’s
withdrawals of fresh water, but water demands
for cities, energy and industry are rapidly growing. The construction of dams and flood levees
on rivers also causes habitat loss and fragmentation, by converting free-flowing rivers to reservoirs, reducing connectivity between different
parts of river basins, and cutting off rivers from
their floodplains.
In coastal ecosystems, habitat loss is driven by a
range of factors including some forms of mariculture, especially shrimp farms in the tropics where
they have often replaced mangroves.
Coastal developments, for housing, recreation,
industry and transportation have had important
impacts on marine ecosystems, through dredging, landfilling and disruption of currents, sediment flow and discharge through construction
of jetties and other physical barriers. As noted
above, use of bottom-trawling fishing gear can
cause significant loss of seabed habitat.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 55
Climate Change
The linked
challenges of
biodiversity loss
and climate
change must be
addressed by
policymakers
with equal
priority and in
close coordination
Climate change is already having an impact on biodiversity, and is projected to become a progressively more significant threat in the coming decades.
Loss of Arctic sea ice threatens biodiversity across
an entire biome and beyond. The related pressure
of ocean acidification, resulting from higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, is
also already being observed.
Ecosystems are already showing negative impacts
under current levels of climate change (an increase
of 0.74ºC in global mean surface temperature
relative to pre-industrial levels), which is modest
compared to future projected changes (2.4-6.4 ºC
by 2100 without aggressive mitigation actions). In
addition to warming temperatures, more frequent
extreme weather events and changing patterns of
rainfall and drought can be expected to have significant impacts on biodiversity.
Impacts of climate change on biodiversity vary
widely in different regions of the world. For example, the highest rates of warming have been
observed in high latitudes, around the Antarctic peninsula and in the Arctic, and this trend
is projected to continue. The rapid reduction
in the extent, age and thickness of Arctic sea
ice, exceeding even recent scientific forecasts,
Climate change is
projected to cause species to migrate to higher
latitudes (ie towards
the poles) and to higher
altitudes, as average
temperatures rise. In
high-altitude habitats
where species are
already at the extreme of
their range, local or global
extinction becomes more
likely as there are no
suitable habitats to which
they can migrate.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 56
has major biodiversity implications [See Box 15
and Figure 14].
Already, changes to the timing of flowering and
migration patterns as well as to the distribution
of species have been observed worldwide. In Europe, over the last forty years, the beginning of
the growing season has advanced by 10 days on
average. These types of changes can alter food
chains and create mismatches within ecosystems where different species have evolved synchronized inter-dependence, for example between nesting and food availability, pollinators
and fertilization. Climate change is also projected to shift the ranges of disease-carrying organisms, bringing them into contact with potential
hosts that have not developed immunity. Freshwater habitats and wetlands, mangroves, coral
reefs, Arctic and alpine ecosystems, dry and subhumid lands and cloud forests are particularly
vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Some species will benefit from climate change.
However, an assessment looking at European
birds found that of 122 widespread species assessed, about three times as many were losing population as a result of climate change as
those that were gaining numbers.
BOX 15 Arctic sea ice and biodiversity
The annual thawing and refreezing of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has seen a drastic change in pattern during the first years of the 21st century. At
its lowest point in September 2007, ice covered a smaller area of the ocean than at any time since satellite measurements began in 1979, 34% less
than the average summer minimum between 1979-2000. Sea ice extent in September 2008 was the second-lowest on record, and although the
level rose in 2009, it remained below the long-term average.
As well as shrinking in extent, Arctic sea ice has become significantly thinner and newer: at its maximum extent in March 2009, only 10% of the Arctic
Ocean was covered by ice older than two years, compared with an average of 30% during 1979-2000. This increases the likelihood of continued
acceleration in the amount of ice-free water during summers to come.
The prospect of ice-free summers in the Arctic Ocean implies the loss of an entire biome. Whole species assemblages are adapted to life on top
of or under ice – from the algae that grow on the underside of multi-year ice, forming up to 25% of the Arctic Ocean’s primary production, to the
invertebrates, birds, fish and marine mammals further up the food chain.
Many animals also rely on sea ice as a refuge from predators or as a platform for hunting. Ringed seals, for example, depend on specific ice conditions in the spring for reproduction, and polar bears live most of their lives travelling and hunting on the ice, coming ashore only to den. Ice is, literally,
the platform for life in the Arctic Ocean – and the source of food, surface for transportation, and foundation of cultural heritage of the Inuit peoples.
The reduction and possible loss of summer and multi-year ice has biodiversity implications beyond the sea-ice biome. Bright white ice reflects
sunlight. When it is replaced by darker water, the ocean and the air heat much faster, a feedback that accelerates ice melt and heating of surface
air inland, with resultant loss of tundra. Less sea ice leads to changes in seawater temperature and salinity, leading to changes in primary productivity and species composition of plankton and fish, as well as large-scale changes in ocean circulation, affecting biodiversity well beyond the Arctic.
FIGURE 14 Arctic sea ice
Millions km2
8
7
6
5
4
1980
1982
1984
1986
1988
1990
1992
1994
1996
1998
2000
2002
2004
2006
2008
2010
The extent of floating sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, as measured at its annual minimum in September, showed a steady decline between 1980 and 2009.
Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 57
Action to
implement the
Convention on
Biological
Diversity has not
been taken on a
sufficient scale
to address the
pressures on
biodiversity
The specific impacts of climate change on biodiversity will largely depend on the ability of species to migrate and cope with more extreme climatic conditions. Ecosystems have adjusted to
relatively stable climate conditions, and when
those conditions are disrupted, the only options
for species are to adapt, move or die.
It is expected that many species will be unable
to keep up with the pace and scale of projected climate change, and as a result will be at an
increased risk of extinction, both locally and
globally. In general climate change will test the
resilience of ecosystems, and their capacity for
adaptation will be greatly affected by the intensity of other pressures that continue to be imposed. Those ecosystems that are already at, or
close to, the extremes of temperature and precipitation tolerances are at particularly high risk.
Over the past 200 years, the oceans have absorbed approximately a quarter of the carbon
dioxide produced from human activities, which
would otherwise have accumulated in the atmosphere. This has caused the oceans (which
on average are slightly alkaline) to become more
acidic, lowering the average pH value of surface
seawater by 0.1 units. Because pH values are on
a logarithmic scale, this means that water is 30
per cent more acidic.
The impact on biodiversity is that the greater
acidity depletes the carbonate ions, positivelycharged molecules in seawater, which are the
building blocks needed by many marine organisms, such as corals, shellfish and many planktonic organisms, to build their outer skeletons.
Concentrations of carbonate ions are now lower
than at any time during the last 800,000 years.
The impacts on ocean biological diversity and
ecosystem functioning will likely be severe,
though the precise timing and distribution of
these impacts are uncertain.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 58
Pollution and nutrient load
Pollution from nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) and other sources is a continuing and growing threat to biodiversity in terrestrial, inland water and coastal ecosystems.
Modern industrial processes such as the burning of fossil fuels and agricultural practices, in
particular the use of fertilizers, have more than
doubled the quantity of reactive nitrogen - nitrogen in the form that is available to stimulate
plant growth - in the environment compared
with pre-industrial times. Put another way, humans now add more reactive nitrogen to the
environment than all natural processes, such
as nitrogen-fixing plants, fires and lightning.
In terrestrial ecosystems, the largest impact
is in nutrient-poor environments, where some
plants that benefit from the added nutrients
out-compete many other species and cause
significant changes in plant composition. Typi-
cally, plants such as grasses and sedges will
benefit at the expense of species such as dwarf
shrubs, mosses and lichens.
Nitrogen deposition is already observed to be
the major driver of species change in a range
of temperate ecosystems, especially grasslands
across Europe and North America, and high
levels of nitrogen have also been recorded in
southern China and parts of South and Southeast Asia. Biodiversity loss from this source
may be more serious than first thought in other
ecosystems including high-latitude boreal forests, Mediterranean systems, some tropical savannas and montane forests. Nitrogen has also
been observed to be building up at significant
levels in biodiversity hotspots, with potentially serious future impacts on a wide variety of
plant species.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 59
Large parts of Latin America and Africa, as well
as Asia, are projected to experience elevated
levels of nitrogen deposition in the next two
decades. Although the impacts have mainly
been studied in plants, nitrogen deposition may
also affect animal biodiversity by changing the
composition of available food.
Investment in
resilient and
diverse
ecosystems, able
to withstand the
multiple
pressures they
are subjected to,
may be the
best-value
insurance policy
yet devised
In inland water and coastal ecosystems, the
buildup of phosphorous and nitrogen, mainly
through run-off from cropland and sewage pollution, stimulates the growth of algae and some
forms of bacteria, threatening valuable ecosystem services in systems such as lakes and coral
reefs, and affecting water quality. It also creates
“dead zones” in oceans, generally where major
rivers reach the sea. In these zones, decomposing algae use up oxygen in the water and leave
large areas virtually devoid of marine life. The
number of reported dead zones has been roughly doubling every ten years since the 1960s, and
by 2007 had reached around 500 [See Figure 15].
While the increase in nutrient load is among
the most significant changes humans are making to ecosystems, policies in some regions are
showing that this pressure can be controlled
and, in time, reversed. Among the most comprehensive measures to combat nutrient pollution
is the European Union’s Nitrates Directive [See
Box 16 and Figure 16].
FIGURE 15 Marine “dead zones”
Number of dead zones
500
400
300
200
Dead zone location
100
0
1910
1920
1930
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
The number of observed “dead zones”, coastal sea areas where water oxygen levels have dropped too low to support most marine life, has roughly
doubled each decade since the 1960s. Many are concentrated near the estuaries of major rivers, and result from the buildup of nutrients, largely carried from inland agricultural areas where fertilizers are washed into watercourses. The nutrients promote the growth of algae that die and decompose
on the seabed, depleting the water of oxygen and threatening fisheries, livelihoods and tourism.
Source: Updated from Diaz and Rosenberg (2008). Science
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 60
BOX 16 The European Union’s Nitrates Directive
The European Union has attempted to address the problem of nitrogen buildup in ecosystems by tackling diffuse sources of pollution, largely from
agriculture, which can be much more difficult to control than point-source pollution from industrial sites.
The Nitrates Directive promotes a range of measures to limit the amount of nitrogen leaching from land into watercourses. They include:
✤ U
se of crop rotations, soil winter cover and catch crops – fast-growing crops grown between successive planting of other crops in order to prevent
flushing of nutrients from the soil. These techniques are aimed at limiting the amount of nitrogen leaching during wet seasons.
✤ L imiting application of fertilizers and manures to what is required by the crop, based on regular soil analysis.
✤ P
roper storage facilities for manure, so that it is made available only when the crops need nutrients.
✤ T he use of the "buffer" effect of maintaining non-fertilized grass strips and hedges along watercourses and ditches.
✤ G
ood management and restriction of cultivation on steeply sloping soils, and of irrigation.
Recent monitoring of inland water bodies within the European Union suggests that nitrate and phosphate levels are declining, although rather slowly.
While nutrient levels are still considered too high, the improvements in quality, partly as a result of the Directive, have helped in the ecological recovery
of some rivers.
Kg per ha
400
FIGURE 16 Nitrogen balance in Europe
The average nitrogen balance per hectare of agricultural land (the amount of nitrogen added to land as fertilizer, compared with the amount used up by crops and
pasture) for selected European countries. The reduction over time in some countries implies improved efficiency in the use of fertilizer, and therefore a reduced risk
of damage to biodiversity through nutrient run-off.
Source: OECD
Netherlands
300
Belgium
200
Denmark
100
OECD
Czech Republic
Sweden
Spain
0
1990
1995
2000
2005
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 61
Overexploitation and unsustainable use
The poor face
the earliest and
most severe
impacts of
biodiversity loss,
but ultimately all
societies and
communities
would suffer
Overexploitation and destructive harvesting practices are at the heart of the threats being imposed
on the world’s biodiversity and ecosystems, and
there has not been significant reduction in this
pressure. Changes to fisheries management in
some areas are leading to more sustainable practices, but most stocks still require reduced pressure
in order to rebuild. Bushmeat hunting, which provides a significant proportion of protein for many
rural households, appears to be taking place at unsustainable levels.
Overexploitation is the major pressure being exerted on marine ecosystems, with marine capture fisheries having quadrupled in size from
the early 1950s to the mid 1990s. Total catches
have fallen since then despite increased fishing effort, an indication that many stocks have
been pushed beyond their capacity to replenish.
The FAO estimates that more than a quarter of
marine fish stocks are overexploited (19%), depleted (8%) or recovering from depletion (1%)
while more than half are fully exploited. Although there have been some recent signs that
fishing authorities are imposing more realistic
expectations on the size of catches that can
safely be taken out of the oceans, some 63% of
assessed fish stocks worldwide require rebuilding. Innovative approaches to the management
of fisheries, such as those that give fishermen a
stake in maintaining healthy stocks, are proving to be effective where they are applied [See
Box 17].
BOX 17 Managing marine food resources for the future
Various management options have emerged in recent years that aim
to create more secure and profitable livelihoods by focusing on the
long-term sustainability of fisheries, rather than maximizing short-term
catches. An example is the use of systems that allocate to individual
fishermen, communities or cooperatives a dedicated share of the total
catch of a fishery. It is an alternative to the more conventional system of
quota-setting, in which allocations are expressed in terms of tonnes of a
particular stock.
This type of system, sometimes known as Individual Transferable Quotas
(ITQ), gives fishing businesses a stake in the integrity and productivity of
the ecosystem, since they will be entitled to catch and sell more fish if
there are more fish to be found. It should therefore deter cheating, and
create an incentive for better stewardship of the resource.
A study of 121 ITQ fisheries published in 2008 found that they were about
half as likely to face collapse than fisheries using other management
methods. However, the system has also been criticized in some areas
for concentrating fishing quotas in the hands of a few fishing enterprises.
Recent studies on the requirements for fish stock recovery suggest that
such approaches need to be combined with reductions in the capacity
of fishing fleets, changes in fishing gear and the designation of closed
areas.
The benefits of more sustainable use of marine biodiversity were shown in a study of a programme in Kenya aimed at reducing pressure on fisheries
associated with coral reefs. A combination of closing off areas to fishing, and restrictions on the use of seine nets that capture concentrated schools
of fish, led to increased incomes for local fishermen.
Certification schemes such as the Marine Stewardship Council are aimed at providing incentives for sustainable fishing practices, by signaling to the
consumer that the end-product derives from management systems that respect the long-term health of marine ecosystems. Seafood fulfilling the
criteria for such certification can gain market advantages for the fishermen involved.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 62
Wild species are being over-exploited for a
variety of purposes in terrestrial, inland water
and marine and coastal ecosystems. Bushmeat hunting, which provides a significant
proportion of protein for many rural households in forested regions such as Central Africa, appears to be taking place at unsustainable levels. In some areas this has contributed
to the so-called “empty forest syndrome”, in
which apparently healthy forests become virtually devoid of animal life. This has potentially
serious impacts on the resilience of forest
ecosystems, as some 75% of tropical trees
depend on animals to disperse their seeds.
Freshwater snakes in Cambodia have been
found to be suffering from unsustainable hunting for sale to crocodile farms, restaurants and
the fashion trade, with low-season catches
per hunter falling by more than 80% between
2000 and 2005. A wide variety of other wild
species have also declined in the wild as a result of overexploitation, ranging from high profile species such as tigers and sea turtles to
lesser-known species such as Encephalartos
brevifoliolatus, a cycad which is now extinct in
the wild as a result of over harvesting for use in
horticulture.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 63
Invasive alien species
Invasive alien species continue to be a major threat
to all types of ecosystems and species. There are
no signs of a significant reduction of this pressure
on biodiversity, and some indications that it is increasing. Intervention to control alien invasive species has been successful in particular cases, but it is
outweighed by the threat to biodiversity from new
invasions.
In a sample of 57 countries, more than 542 alien
species, including vascular plants, marine and
freshwater fish, mammals, birds and amphibians, with a demonstrated impact on biodiversity have been found, with an average of over
50 such species per country (and a range from
nine to over 220). This is most certainly an underestimate, as it excludes many alien species
whose impact has not yet been examined, and
includes countries known to lack data on alien
species.
It is difficult to get an accurate picture of
whether damage from this source is increasing, as in many areas attention has only recently been focused on the problem, so a rise
in known invasive species impacts may partly
reflect improved knowledge and awareness.
However, in Europe where introduction of alien
species has been recorded for many decades,
the cumulative number continues to increase
and has done so at least since the beginning of
the 20th century. Although these are not necessarily invasive, more alien species present in a
country means that in time, more may become
invasive. It has been estimated that of some
11,000 alien species in Europe, around one in
ten has ecological impacts and a slightly higher
proportion causes economic damage [See Box
18]. Trade patterns worldwide suggest that the
European picture is similar elsewhere and, as a
consequence, that the size of the invasive alien
species problem is increasing globally.
BOX 18 Documenting Europe’s alien species
The Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE) project provides consolidated information aimed at creating an inventory of invasive species that threaten European biodiversity. This can be used as the basis for the prevention and control of biological invasions, to assess the
ecological and socio-economic risks associated with most widespread invasive species, and to distribute data and experience to member states as
a form of early warning system.
Currently about 11,000 alien species have documented by DAISIE. Examples include Canada geese, zebra mussels, brook trout, the Bermuda buttercup and coypu (nutria). A recent study based on information provided by DAISIE indicated that of the 11,000 alien species in Europe, 1,094 have
documented ecological impacts and 1,347 have economic impacts. Terrestrial invertebrates and terrestrial plants are the two taxonomic groups
causing the greatest impacts.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 64
Eleven bird species (since 1988), five mammal
species (since 1996) and one amphibian (since
1980) have substantially had their risk of extinction reduced due primarily to the successful
control or eradication of alien invasive species.
Without such actions, it is estimated that the
average survival chances, as measured by the
Red List Index, would have been more than 10%
worse for bird species and almost 5% worse for
mammals [See Box 19]. However, the Red List
Index also shows that almost three times as
many birds, almost twice as many mammals,
and more than 200 times the number of amphibian species, have deteriorated in conservation status due largely to increased threats
from invasive animals, plants or micro-organisms. Overall, birds, mammals and amphibian
species have on average become more threatened due to invasive alien species. While other
groups have not been fully assessed, it is known
that invasive species are the second leading
cause for extinction for freshwater mussels and
more generally among endemic species.
BOX 19 Successful control of alien invasive species
✤ T he Black vented Shearwater (Puffinus opisthomelas) breeds on six islands off the Pacific coast of Mexico, one of which is Natividad. Predation
from approximately 20 feral cats reduced the population of the bird by more than 1,000 birds per month while introduced herbivores such as
donkeys, goats sheep and rabbits damaged habitat of importance to the bird. With the assistance of a local fishing community goats and sheep
were removed from the island in 1997-1998 while cats were controlled in 1998 and eventually eradicated in 2006. As a result the pressure on this
species has decreased, the population has begun to recover and the species was reclassified from Vulnerable to Near Threatened in the IUCN
Red List of 2004.
✤ The Western Brush Wallaby (Macropus irma) is endemic to south western Australia. During the 1970 the wallaby began to decline as a result of a
dramatic increase in the Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) population. Surveys conducted in 1970 and 1990 suggested that population had declined from
approximately 10 individuals per 100 kilometers to about 1 per 100 kilometers. Since the introduction of fox control measures the wallaby population has recovered and currently stands at approximately 100,000 individuals. As a result the Western Brush Wallaby has been reclassified from
Near Threatened to Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of 2004.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 65
Combined pressures and
underlying causes of biodiversity loss
Effective action
to address
biodiversity loss
depends on
addressing the
underlying
causes or
indirect drivers
of that decline
The direct drivers of biodiversity loss act together
to create multiple pressures on biodiversity and
ecosystems. Efforts to reduce direct pressures are
challenged by the deep-rooted underlying causes
or indirect drivers that determine the demand
for natural resources and are much more difficult
to control. The ecological footprint of humanity
exceeds the biological capacity of the Earth by a
wider margin than at the time the 2010 target was
agreed.
The pressures or drivers outlined above do not
act in isolation on biodiversity and ecosystems,
but frequently, with one pressure exacerbating
the impacts of another. For example:
✤F
ragmentation of habitats reduces the capacity of species to adapt to climate change, by
limiting the possibilities of migration to areas
with more suitable conditions.
✤P
ollution, overfishing, climate change and
ocean acidification all combine to weaken
the resilience of coral reefs and increase the
tendency for them to shift to algae-dominated states with massive loss of biodiversity.
✤ I ncreased levels of nutrients combined with
the presence of invasive alien species can
promote the growth of hardy plants at the expense of native species. Climate change can
further exacerbate the problem by making
more habitats suitable for invasive species.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 66
✤S
ea level rise caused by climate change combines with physical alteration of coastal
habitats, accelerating change to coastal biodiversity and associated loss of ecosystem
services.
An indication of the magnitude of the combined pressures we are placing on biodiversity
and ecosystems is provided by humanity’s ecological footprint, a calculation of the area of
biologically-productive land and water needed
to provide the resources we use and to absorb
our waste. The ecological footprint for 2006, the
latest year for which the figure is available, was
estimated to exceed the Earth’s biological capacity by 40 per cent. This “overshoot” has increased from some 20 per cent at the time the
2010 biodiversity target was agreed in 2002.
As suggested above, specific measures can and
do have an impact in tackling the direct drivers of biodiversity loss: alien species control,
responsible management of farm waste and
habitat protection and restoration are some
examples. However, such measures must
compete with a series of powerful underlying causes of biodiversity loss. These are even
more challenging to control, as they tend to involve long-term social, economic and cultural
trends. Examples of underlying causes include:
✤ Demographic change
✤ Economic activity
✤ Levels of international trade
✤ Per capita consumption patterns, linked to
individual wealth
✤ Cultural and religious factors
✤ Scientific and technological change
Indirect drivers primarily act on biodiversity by
influencing the quantity of resources used by
human societies. So for example population increase, combined with higher per capita consumption, will tend to increase demand for energy, water and food – each of which will contribute
to direct pressures such as habitat conversion,
over-exploitation of resources, nutrient pollution
and climate change. Increased world trade has
been a key indirect driver of the introduction of
invasive alien species.
Indirect drivers can have positive as well as negative impacts on biodiversity. For example, cultural
and religious factors shape society’s attitudes
towards nature and influence the level of funds
available for conservation. The loss of traditional
knowledge can be particularly detrimental in this
regard, as for many local and indigenous communities biodiversity is a central component of
belief systems, worldviews and identity. Cultural
changes such as the loss of indigenous languages
can therefore act as indirect drivers of biodiversity loss by affecting local practices of conservation and sustainable use [See Box 20]. Equally,
scientific and technological change can provide
new opportunities for meeting society’s demands
while minimizing the use of natural resources –
but can also lead to new pressures on biodiversity
and ecosystems.
Strategies for decreasing the negative impacts of
indirect drivers are suggested in the final section
of this synthesis. They centre on “decoupling” indirect from direct drivers of biodiversity loss, primarily by using natural resources much more efficiently; and by managing ecosystems to provide
a range of services for society, rather than only
maximizing individual services such as crop production or hydro-electric power.
The trends from available indicators suggest that
the state of biodiversity is declining, the pressures
upon it are increasing, and the benefits derived by
humans from biodiversity are diminishing, but that
the responses to address its loss are increasing [See
Figure 17]. The overall message from these indicators is that despite the many efforts taken around
the world to conserve biodiversity and use it sustainably, responses so far have not been adequate
to address the scale of biodiversity loss or reduce
the pressure.
BOX 20 Trends in indigenous languages
Indigenous languages transmit specialized knowledge about biodiversity, the environment and about practices to manage natural resources. However, determining the status and trends of indigenous languages at the global level is complicated by the lack of standardized methodologies, the
absence of shared definitions for key concepts and limited information. Where such information exists there is evidence that the extinction risk for the
most endangered languages, those with few speakers, has increased. For example:
✤ B
etween 1970 and 2000, 16 of 24 indigenous languages spoken by less than 1,000 people in Mexico lost speakers.
✤ In the Russian Federation, between 1950 and 2002, 15 of 27 languages spoken by less than 10,000 people lost speakers.
✤ In Australia, 22 of 40 languages lost speakers between 1996 and 2006.
✤ In an assessment of 90 languages used by different indigenous peoples in the Arctic, it was determined that 20 languages have become extinct
since the 19th century. Ten of these extinctions have occurred since 1989, suggesting an increasing rate of language extinctions. A further 30
languages are considered to be critically endangered while 25 are severely endangered.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 67
STATE
100
150
80
130
60
110
40
FIGURE 17 Summary of biodiversity indicators
20
Living Planet Index
0
STATE
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
STATE
90
Wetland
1.0
0.6
0.9
0.8
0.4
Terrestrial
0.7
0.2
70
50
1970
0.8
Wild Bird Index
1980
1990
2000
2010
STATE
0
1970
Waterbird Population
Status Index
1980
1990
2000
2010
0.6
0.5
1970
Million km2
STATEMillion km2
0.8 41
1000.8
1.0 0.25
1.090
3.5
Corals
0.8
100
150
0.8
150
Wetland Birds
1.0
100
150
Corals
1300.9
800.6
0.9 0.20
Wetland Birds
0.6130
Wetland
85
80
Mammals
130
0.6
0.9
80
130
1100.80.6
60
0.8 0.15
Mammals
6080
0.4110
0.4
3.0
110
40
Terrestrial
0.8
60
110
900.70.4
40
0.7 0.4
Amphibians
0.10
Terrestrial
Terrestrial
40
90
90
0.7
Amphibians
0.2
0.2
Waterbird
Population
Waterbird
Population
40
90
700.675
20
0.6 0.2
0.05
0.2
Waterbird
Population
Status Index
Status
Index
20
70
WildRed
Bird
Index
d Bird Index
Living
Planet
Index
List
Index
Marine
Trophic
Index
Water
Quality
Index
70
0.6
Forest
extent
20
Wild
Bird
Index
Living Planet
0 39
500.570
0 2.5
0
StatusIndex
Index
Wild Bird Index
Planet Index
List Index
Index 0.5 70
0
LivingRed
Planet
0
0 0 1980
50
50
0.5
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
2000
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1970
1980
1990
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19701980
1970
1980
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0
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1970
1
1970
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1970 1980
1980 1990
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2010
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1970
1980
1990
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1970 1980
1980 1990
1990 2000
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1980
1990
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1970
2
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Million1970
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Million
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75
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00
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1
1970
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1970
1980
1990
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1970
1980
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1970
1980
1990
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1970
19
or
fully exploited
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
2
2
55 2000
of live corals
Million
km
Million
km
1970
1980
1990
2010
2000
2010 Per cent
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010Million
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
2
or depleted
fish stocks
km of live corals
Per cent
STATE50
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km2 km
22
50
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0.25
0.25
Million km2
Per cent
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0.25
41 50
90
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2
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0.25
1970
1980
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Million
km
3.5
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41
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1.00.20
Seagrass extent
PRESSURES
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Indo-Pacific
0.25
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acific
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30
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ral
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rd Index
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0.5
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40
1970
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39
0
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Over or fully
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or1970
fully exploited
60
1980 1990
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1970 1980
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1990
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1970
1980
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1970
19
00
2010 Over1970
1980
2000
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1970
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602000 2010
0.5
55
Over or fully explo
or
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stocks
fully exploited
or depleted
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200
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1970
1980
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1970
1980 European
199055 alien
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
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2010Over or20
2
species
Nitrogen
deposition
55
Ecological
footprint
Million
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50
or depleted fish
st
2
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Million
km
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0
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50
0.25 2000
50
1970
1980
1990
970
1980
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2 2010
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41
50
0.25
1970 help
1980
1990 1970
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990 19702000 19802010 1990 1970
19702000indicators
198020101990
2000
2010
These graphs
to summarize
the
message
from1990
the available
on biodiversity:
2000
1980
Seagrass
extent that 0.20 0.25
PRESSURES
the state
of biodiversity is declining, the
pressures
upon it are increasing, and the benefits
dePRESSURES
0.20
40
0.20
Number
of
alien
species
Number
of
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species
Nitrogen deposition (Tg per year)
ear)
Indo-Pacific
Per centare diminishing,
rived by humans from biodiversity
but that the responses to address its loss are 0.15 Nitrogen
PRESSURES
Number of alie
0.20
deposition (Tg per year)
Number
of alien species Per cent
Nitrogen deposition (Tg
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1.5
2.0
1.5 biodiversity
120
1 200
acific
0.15
30
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Mangrove extent
85per
increasing.
They reinforce the
conclusion that the
2010
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2.0
1
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cent
85
bbean
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1.5
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1001 200
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RESPONSES
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Mangrove
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Most
indicators of the state75of biodiversity show negative
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8011.0
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1.5
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80
75
in
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ondition
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ral
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0.5 60
pressures upon biodiversity,
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400is no evidence of a slowing in the increase of
65 based on the 400
1.0 1980
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2010 There
1970
1990
2000
2010
0
60
1970
1990
2000
1980
2000
2010
00
2010 trend
1970
1990
2010 1970
0.5
1970
19
400
40
0.5
652000 2010
shown
by1980
indicators
of humanity’s
ecological
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nitrogen1990
deposition,
alien species
400
40 1980
80
40
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Over
or
fully
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200
20
200
0.5
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010 20040
3 exploited
European
alien species
European
species
55fishalien
Over or20
fully
Nitrogen
deposition
deposition
Ecological
footprint
C
Climatic
Impact
Indicator
introductions,
overexploited
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and
the
impact
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60
0.5
or
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Nitrogen
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Ecological
footprint
Over
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km
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1980
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1970
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1990
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1970
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2010
1970
1980 1990
2000
2010
2000
2010 The1970
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limited
of 1990
the1970
benefits
derived
by
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biodiversity
also2000
show
1980
1990
2000
2010 1990
40
20
1970
2000
2010
1970policy
1
2000 1980
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1970
1980
1990 2000
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2010
2000
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1970 1980
1980 1990
19901970
20001980
20101990 1970
1970
1980
1990 50 2000
2010
trends.
10
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
PRESSURES
1
1970
1980 0.201990
2000
2010
Sustainably managed
20
10
Nitrogen deposition (Tg per year) area extent Number of alien species
nt
Siteincoverage
extent
alien species
deposition
(Tg moving
per year)
0.15Nitrogen
In contrast, all indicatorsProtected
of the responses to address
biodiversity
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a positive Number offorest
1.5
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120 Nitrogen
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per year)
direction.
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being
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more
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120
RESPONSES
0.10
1970
1980
1990
2000RESPONSES
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1970
1970to avoid
1980damage
1990from 2000
2010
1970
1980money
1990
2000
2010
100 120
1
000
1.5
1
200
introduced
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and
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being
spent
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RESPONSES
100
1Millions
000
km2 of Forest Stewardship Council
Millions km2 of Forest Stewardship Council
support
of the
and
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objectives.
1.5
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80
800
0.05
Millions
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2
2 Convention on Biological Diversity
Per
cent
Per
cent
of
countries
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policies
100
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per
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180
000
forest
Millions km of Forest Stewardship
Council certified
certified
Million
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1.0 of count
800
2
Mean
perofcent
protected
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fo
Million
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countries
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policies
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4
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3.2
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Million km2
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60
600
4Mean per
30 4 the many efforts taken around the
50
100
50
0.5
400
40 to
1970
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30
world
responses
have
been
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60conserve biodiversity and use it sustainably,
800.550
80
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40
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pressures.
40 the scale of biodiversity
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0.540
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European alien
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Nitrogen deposition
60 340
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20
ootprint
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Indicator
or depleted
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20
Source: Adapted
from Butchart etal. (2010). Science
IBAsdeposition
BAs
European
species
Invasive a
species
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02 30
0 200 Invasive alien Nitrogen
0 220
60
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policy ado
Invasive
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adoption
cal footprint
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20
Climatic
Impact
Indicator
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
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1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1980
1990
2000
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10 1970
0 policy
0
0
1970
1
1980
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990 2.8 2000
2010 1 20
adoption
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120 Sustainably
10
Sustainably
managed
National 2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010 20 120 Sustai
2000
2010
1980
1990
2000
1970
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1990
2000
2010 10 20 1970
10
1 Sustainably
10
Site
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te coverage Number 10
forest
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managed
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forest
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National
of alien species
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forest extent
d area extent
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1.5
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0
0
0 0 1980
0 1980
0 1980
1970
1990
2000
2010
1970
1970
1980 1990
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2010 1970
1970
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2000
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2000
2010 1970
1970
1980
1990
2010
0 2000
0 1980
RESPONSES
1970
1
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
2000 Global
2010
1980
1990
2000
2010
1Biodiversity
000 1970
RESPONSES
Outlook 3 | 68
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
2
Millions km of Forest Stewardship
Council
Billions of dollars
ons of dollars 800
RESPONSES
2
1.0
Millions
km
of
Forest
Stewardship
Council
of countries with policies
Mean per cent protected
Billions of dollars
certified forest 2
Billions of dollars
3.2 Stewardship CouncilPer cent
Per cent of co
Mean
per cent
Millions
km protected
of Forest
certified forest
Million km2
4
100 Per cent of countries with3.2
50 Mean per cent protected 3.2
600
policies
certified forest
STATE
150
Nitrogen deposition
(Tg per year)
85
Per cent
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2
30
Millions
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2
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0.6
Million
130 km
Million
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0.9 Billions of dollars Million
kmcent of co
STATE 0.9
2.0 Mean per cent
1 200Per
120 km
0.15
0.685
Mammals
2
protected
certified
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Million
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3.2
Caribbean
0.25
41
40
3.5 80
0.25
41100
900.8
20 30
0.10
80
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1 000100
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4
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80
10
80080
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75
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3.0
0.6 1.0
0.2
Waterbird
hic Index
0.150.270
Water Quality
Index
60 Population
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600
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0.15
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0.6
0 20
0 60
0.6
65
3.0 70
40 70 Status Index
110
Bird Index
39 30Bird Index
0Status Index
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Red List
80Wild
40 40
IBAsIndex
Living1970
Planet
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1980
1990
2000
2010
400
Red
ListInvasiv
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1970
198
0.10
0.4
2
0
0.5
Terrestrial
000
2010
1970
1980
1990060 2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010 0.10 40 policy
1970
1980
1990
2010
0.5
50 2000
0.5 2.8
20
Over
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0.7
200
1980
1990
2000
2010
000
2010 90 1970
1970
1980
1990
2000
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55 footprint
75
0.05
1970
1980 or
1990
2000
2010 Nitrogen
1980
1990 10
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
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1970deposition
1980
1990
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2
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forest
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2.62000
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39
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2
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2.5 Million km
39
2
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0.251970
1970
1990
2000
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198
19802010
1990
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kmIndex
1970
1980
0 20002010
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412000
1980
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1970
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1990
2000
1980
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1970 2010
1980
1990
2000
1980
2000
2010
1980
1990
2000
1970
1980
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
0.25
41
90
PRESSURES
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1
Seagrass
extent
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
0.20
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
0
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
Seagrass extent
0.20
Number of alien species 0.20
Nitrogen
deposition
(Tg
per
year)
2
2
Per
cent
Million km
Per cent of live corals
Million km
2
0.15
85
Million
Billions of dollarsMillion
1.5
1 200km2
120 km
STATE502.0
Mangrove extent
85
0.25
0.15
0.25
0.15
ibbean
3.2
PRESSURE
RESPONSES
BENEFItS
RESPONSES
0.25
41
90 40
0.10
100
1 000
8080
0.8
BENEFITS
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Seagrass extent
1.00.10
0.2040 Corals PRESSURES
401.5
0.20 Millions km2
0.10
Birds
75
Indo-Pacific
0.20
1.0certified fores
80
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2
Mean
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85
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ondition
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0.6
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60
120
Mangrove
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4
85
30
50
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Mammals
0.15
lity Index Marine
M
85
0
Forest extent Water Quality Index
Trophic Index
65
Forest extent
Caribbean
0.8
80
40 40
Intern
0.1080
0
20
8039
0.10
0.5
400
000
2010 0.4
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
39
0
7060
0.95
40
AZEs
0.10
100
trade
3
1980
1990
2000
2010 0.7or 1970
1980Amphibians
1990 2.82000
2010
000
2010 750.51970
exploited
1980
1990
2000
2010
1980
1990200 2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2
1970
1980 Over
1990 20
2000
2010 0.05751970
20fully
10
0.05 0.90
55 footprint
75
European alien species
Nitrogen deposition
Ecological
30
C
0.05
or
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fish
stocks
70
Coral
condition
0.2
Waterbird
Population
IBAs
70
0
0
0
0
2
Index
Foo
Water Quality
0.6Million km
Biodiversity aid 80
50 Index
2
0Forest extent
0
0 0.85
2
tIndex
of live corals 70
65
Status
Index
Million
km
2.6
65
Red
List
Index
390.2519702000198020101990
1970
198
1970 1980
1980 1990
1990 1970
2000 1980
2010 1990
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970 2000
1980 2010
1990 0 20
2000
2010
1970
2000
2010
10
1970
1980
01970
0.25 2000
0.51970
60
1 Sustaina
0
2010
1980
1990 60 2000
2010
1980 Over
1990
2000
2010
1970 2010
1980 1970
1990
2000 1990
2010
60 1980
Living
Plant
Index
or
fully
exploited
Red
Lis
0.80
10
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
0
2010
1970
1980
1990 55 2000
2010Over or fully exploited
PRESSURES
0.20
55
for utilized
vertebrate
species
PRESSURES
Site coverage
forest
ex
Protected area extent or depleted fish stocks
0.20
or depleted
fish stocks
in trade
Number of alien
species
Nitrogen deposition
(Tg per year)
Indo-Pacific
40 2
0.75
0
50
0 2
ent
Million0km
2
50
0.15
Million
km
Per
cent
Million
km
1 2001970
120
0.15
extent
1970 1980
1980 1990
1990 2000
2000 2010
2010
1970 198
1
0.251.51970
1970
1980 Mangrove
19901970
20001980
20101990
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
2000
2010
RESPONSES
Mangrove
extent
85
0.25
41100Caribbean
10.10
000
0.10
2
Seagrass
extent
BENEFITS
1.0
PRESSURES
80
0.20
Millions
km
of
Forest
Stewardship
Council
Corals
Billions of dollars
Birds
1.0
80
Number of alien species 0.20
800
eposition (Tg per year)
2
Per cent of coun
Number
of alienforest
species
Mean
per cent protected
0.05
Nitrogen
(Tg per year)
certified
75 deposition
Per cent
0.053.2
0.9 Million km
0.15
1.5
1
200
4
100
30
50
60 condition
1.5
2.0
1
200
120
Coral
600
120
1.00
Mammals 85
0.15 70
Mangrove extent
0
bean
0.8
40 40
Internationally 0
1 00080
400
65
100
10.10
0000.5
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
40
AZEs
0.95
0.10
1980
1990
2000
2010
1980
1990 80 2000
2
100
traded species 1970
3.0
1.5
3
60
1.0
0.7
80075
Over
or
200
20fully exploitedAmphibians
1.0
80
800
0.05
20
European
alienexploited
species
Over
or
fully
Nitrogen
deposition
60
30
ootprint
Climatic
Impact
Indicator
0.90
0.05
dition
IBAs
or depleted
ulation
55
Invasive a
1.0 0 fish stocks 60070
Index
or depleted fish stocks
60 0 80
Food & medicine
0.6
600
Forest extent
0 02
2.8
Index 2010 39 1970
policy ad
50
65
40
20
Red
List
Index
0.85
0
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
000
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1980
1990
2000
2010
species
0.5
0.5
10 2000
00
2010
400
40
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1980
1990
2010400
0.5
60
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1990 Living
2000Plant2010
0
2010
0.5
Sustainably
managed
Index
10 60 1980
Red List Index
for species
utilized aid 20
200 2000
Over or20fully
Biodiversity
0
2010Nitrogen
1970
1980
1990
2010
200 0.80 forest
European
alien exploited
species for utilized
deposition
55 footprint
Climatic
Site
coverage
European
alien
species
extent
Protected
area extent
vertebrate
species Impact Indicator
Nitrogen
deposition
2.6
Ecological
Clim
in
trade
and
food
and
medicine
or
depleted
fish
stocks
Number
of
alien
species
r)
0
050
0
0 0
0 0 2
0 0year)
402
Number
of alien species 0 0.75
Million
km
Nitrogen deposition (Tg
per
1970
1980
1990
2000
Million
km
1.5
1
200
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1980
1990 1970
2000 1980
2010 1990
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970 1980
198
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
0.251970
2000
2010
19701980
19801990
19902000
20002010
2010 1970
19701980
19801990
1990
20002010
2010 1970
1.5 2000
1 200
120
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
RESPONSES
0.25
1
000
2
Seagrass
extent
PRESSURES
100
0.20 Millions km of Forest
1 000
Stewardship
Council
Billions of dollars
0.20
1.0
Number
of alienforest
species
800
Per cent of countries with1.0
policies
Meandeposition
per cent protected
Nitrogen
(Tg per 80
year)
certified
800
3.2
0.15
50
1.5100
1 200 4
120600
0.15
Mangrove
extent
BENEFITS
RESPONSES
60
600
RESPONSES
0.10
100
0.5
1
000
400
80
40
2
AZEs
International
0.10
0.5
Millions
km of Forest Stewardship
Council
400
40
3.0
Millions km2 of Forest Stewardship
Council
3
120
1.0certified
Per cent of countries with policies
800
cent protected 80
0.05
200
2
certified
forest
Per1.00
cent of countrie
Mean
per
cent
protected
forest
Million
km
60
30
European
alien
species
200
20
eposition
0.05
Climatic
Impact
Indicator
IBAs
Internat
European
alien
species
Invasive
alien
species
Nitrogen
deposition
Ecological
footprint
4
Climatic
Impact
100
60
4
100
30
50
2
0
0
600
0.95 Indicator
extent
0
2.8
0
0
0
100
traded s
policy adoption
40
20
0
1970 1980
1980 1990
1990
2000 2010
2010 0.5 International
1980
1990
2000
2010 400
000
2010
40 1970
1970
2000
80 1970
AZEs
1970
1980
1990
2000
2
1980
1990
2000
2010
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
80
40
AZEs
0.90
1 Sustainably managed
0
2010
1970
1980
1990 3 2000
2010
3
National
10 exploited
Over or20fully
Biodiversity aid 20
Food &
200
80
60
European
alien
species
Site coverage
forest extent
a extent or depleted
2.6
tprint
60
30
Climatic Impact Indicator
0.85Invasive alie
IBAsfish stocks Nitrogen deposition
Invasive alien species0 0
s
IBAs
2
0 0
0 0 km2
Million
2
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
policy
adoption
60
40
Living
Plant
Index
policy
adopIn
40
20
Red
List
0.80
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
20101990
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
00001980
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
0.25
2010
10 2000
RESPONSES
for utilized vertebrate species
1 Sustainably managed
in trade an
1 Sustainably
RESPONSES
National
managed
20
20
40
0.75
0.20
Millions
km
Forest Stewardship
Council 10
Billions
ofextent
dollars
Site coverage 2 of
forest
2
Site
coverage
forest
extent
Protected
area
extent
Millions km of Forest Stewardship
Council
Numbercertified
of alien forest
species
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
198
0 Mean
0 policies
3.2 per cent protected0Per cent of countries with
0 1970
0
Per cent of countries with 0policies
certified forest
km2
1.5
10.15
2001970
42000 1980
100
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1980
1990
2010
Mangrove
extent
BENEFITS
1970
1980
1990100 2000
2010
1970
1980
1990 50 2000 RESPONSES
2010
1970
1980
1990 4 2000
2010
10.10
000
80
2
International
3.0
Millions km of Forest Stewardship
Council
Billions
80
40
AZEs
3 of dollars
Internationa
Billions
120
1.0
800
3 of dollars
0.05
Per1.00
cent of countries with policies
Mean per cent protected
certified
forest
3.2
60
3.2
Internationally
s
60
30
4 IBAsInvasive alien species
100
50
600
0.95
Invasive alien species
0 2
100
traded species
2.8
policy adoption 2
40
0.5
policy adoption
400
40
20 2000
1970
1980
1990
2010
80
40
AZEs
International
0.90
3.0 1 Sustainably managed
3.0
3 20
National
1 Sustainably managed
Food & medicine
Biodiversity aid 80
200
National
20
European 10
alien
species
sition
2.6
60
30
coverage
Climatic Impact Indicator
forest extent
0.85Invasive alien
species
IBAs
species
Site
coverage
forest extent
Protected
area extent
0
0
0
0
2
2.8
1980
1990
2010 Living
0
0 1970
60 2000
2.80 Plant Index
adoption
Red List
Index for species
utilized
0.80policy
1970
0000 2010
1970 1980
1980 1990
1990 2000
2000 2010
2010 1970
1970 1980
1980 1990
1990 2000
2000 2010
2010 40
2010 20
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2
for
utilized
vertebrate
species
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
in
trade
and
food
and
medicine
1
Sustainably
managed
National
10 Biodiversity aid
40
0.75
Biodiversity aid 20
2.6
sxtent
of dollars
Site coverage
forest
2.6
of extent
dollars
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010 0 1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
0Billions
01970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
3.2
1.5
BENEFITS
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
0 RESPONSES
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
Millions km2 of Forest Stewardship
Council
Billions of dollars
120
3.0
1.0
Per1.00
cent of countries with policies
certified forest
3.2
Internationally
4
100
BENEFITS
0.95
BENEFITS
100
traded species
2.8
0.5
80
International
0.90
3.0
3
1.00
Food & medicine
120
1.00
Biodiversity aid 80
pecies
60
Biodiversity
aid
Climatic Impact Indicator
0.85Invasive alien
Internationally
species
Internationally
species
2.6
0
0.95
2
0.95
species 100
2.8 traded
60 2000
traded species
00
1980
1990
2010
Living
Plant
Index
policy
adoption
40
Red
List
Index
for
species
utilized
0.80
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
for utilized0.90
vertebrate species
0.90
in trade and food and medicine
1 Sustainably
managed
National
Food & medicine
40
0.75
Food & medicine
Biodiversity
aid 20
80
erage
forest extent
0.85
2.6
species
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010 0.85
species
0
0
199060 utilized
2000
2010 Living Plant Index
Living Plant Index
Red
List1980
Index
0.801970
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010for species
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010 0.80 Red List Index for species utilized
0
2010
BENEFITS
for utilized vertebrate species
BENEFITS
for utilized
vertebrate species
in trade and food and medicine
in trade and food and medicine
0.75
40
0.75
Council
fipdollars
1980
1990Per1.00
2000
2010 with policies
1970
1980
1990 1970
2000 1980
2010 19901.00 2000
cent
of countries
2010
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
120
Internationally
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 69
100
Internationally
BENEFITS
0.95
traded species
0.95
100
traded species
80
International
0.90
0.90
120
1.00
Food & medicine
Biodiversity Futures
for the 21st Century
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 70
Continuing species extinctions far above the
historic rate, loss of habitats and changes
in the distribution and abundance of species are projected throughout this century
according to all scenarios analyzed for this
Outlook. There is a high risk of dramatic biodiversity loss and accompanying degradation of a broad range of ecosystem services
if the Earth system is pushed beyond certain
thresholds or tipping points. The loss of such
services is likely to impact the poor first and
most severely, as they tend to be most directly
dependent on their immediate environments;
but all societies will be impacted. There is
greater potential than was recognized in
earlier assessments to address both climate
change and rising food demand without further widespread loss of habitats.
For the purposes of this Outlook, scientists from
a wide range of disciplines came together to
identify possible future outcomes for biodiversity change during the rest of the 21st century.
The results summarized here are based on a
combination of observed trends, models and
experiments. They draw upon and compile all
previous relevant scenario exercises conducted
for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the
Global Environment Outlook and earlier editions of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, as well
as scenarios being developed for the next assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC). They pay particular attention to the relationship between biodiversity
change and its impacts on human societies. In
addition to the analysis of existing models and
scenarios, a new assessment was carried out of
potential “tipping points” that could lead to large,
rapid and potentially irreversible changes. The
analysis reached four principal conclusions:
✤ Projections of the impact of global change on biodiversity show continuing and often accelerating
species extinctions, loss of natural habitat, and
changes in the distribution and abundance of species, species groups and biomes over the 21st century.
✤ There are widespread thresholds, amplifying feedbacks and time-lagged effects leading to “tipping
points”, or abrupt shifts in the state of biodiversity
and ecosystems. This makes the impacts of global
change on biodiversity hard to predict, difficult to
control once they begin, and slow, expensive or impossible to reverse once they have occurred [See
Box 21 and Figure 18].
✤ Degradation of the services provided to human
societies by functioning ecosystems are often
more closely related to changes in the abundance
and distribution of dominant or keystone species,
rather than to global extinctions; even moderate
biodiversity change globally can result in disproportionate changes for some groups of species (for
example top predators) that have a strong influence on ecosystem services.
✤ Biodiversity and ecosystem changes could be prevented, significantly reduced or even reversed
(while species extinctions cannot be reversed, diversity of ecosystems can be restored) if strong
action is applied urgently, comprehensively and
appropriately, at international, national and local
levels. This action must focus on addressing the direct and indirect factors driving biodiversity loss,
and must adapt to changing knowledge and conditions.
The projections, potential tipping points, impacts
and options for achieving better outcomes are
summarized on the following pages:
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 71
BOX 21 What is a tipping point?
A tipping point is defined, for the purposes of this Outlook, as a situation in which an ecosystem experiences a shift to a
new state, with significant changes to biodiversity and the services to people it underpins, at a regional or global scale.
Tipping points also have at least one of the following characteristics:
There is a high
risk of dramatic
biodiversity
loss and
accompanying
degradation of a
broad range of
ecosystem
services if
ecosystems are
pushed beyond
certain
thresholds or
tipping points
✤ The change becomes self-perpetuating through so-called positive feedbacks, for example deforestation reduces
regional rainfall, which increases fire-risk, which causes forest dieback and further drying.
✤ There is a threshold beyond which an abrupt shift of ecological states occurs, although the threshold point can rarely
be predicted with precision.
✤ The changes are long-lasting and hard to reverse.
✤ There is a significant time lag between the pressures driving the change and the appearance of impacts, creating
great difficulties in ecological management.
Tipping points are a major concern for scientists, managers and policy–makers, because of their potentially large impacts on biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being. It can be extremely difficult for societies to adapt to
rapid and potentially irreversible shifts in the functioning and character of an ecosystem on which they depend. While
it is almost certain that tipping points will occur in the future, the dynamics in most cases cannot yet be predicted with
enough precision and advance warning to allow for specific and targeted approaches to avoid them, or to mitigate their
impacts. Responsible risk management may therefore require a precautionary approach to human activities known to
drive biodiversity loss.
Figure 18 Tipping points – an illustration of the concept
Pressures
Existing
biodiversity
Tipping
point
CHANGED STATE
Actions
to increase
resilience
SAFE
OPERATING
S PAC E
Less diverse
Fewer ecosystem
services
Degradation of
human well being
Changed
biodiversity
The mounting pressures on biodiversity risks pushing some ecosystems into new states, with severe ramifications for human wellbeing as tipping points
are crossed. While the precise location of tipping points is difficult to determine, once an ecosystem moves into a new state it can be very difficult, if not
impossible, to return it to its former state.
Source: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 72
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 73
Terrestrial ecosystems to 2100
Current path:
Impacts for people:
Land-use change continues as the main short-term threat,
with climate change, and the interactions between these two
drivers, becoming progressively important. Tropical forests
continue to be cleared, making way for crops and biofuels.
Species extinctions many times more frequent than the historic “background rate” - the average rate at which species
are estimated to have gone extinct before humans became
a significant threat to species survival - and loss of habitats
continue throughout the 21st century. Populations of wild
species fall rapidly, with especially large impacts for equatorial Africa and parts of South and South-East Asia. Climate
change causes boreal forests to extend northwards into tundra, and to die back at their southern margins giving way to
temperate species. In turn, temperate forests are projected to
die back at the southern and low-latitude edge of their range.
Many species suffer range reductions and/or move close to
extinction as their ranges shift several hundred kilometres
towards the poles. Urban and agricultural expansion further
limits opportunities for species to migrate to new areas in
response to climate change.
The large-scale conversion of natural habitats to cropland
or managed forests will come at the cost of degradation
of biodiversity and the ecosystem services it underpins,
such as nutrient retention, clean water supply, soil erosion
control and ecosystem carbon storage, unless sustainable practices are used to prevent or reduce these losses.
Climate-induced changes in the distribution of species and
vegetation-types will have important impacts on the services available to people, such as reduced wood harvests and
recreation opportunities.
In addition, there is a high risk of dramatic loss of biodiversity and degradation of services from terrestrial
ecosystems if certain thresholds are crossed. Plausible scenarios include:
✤ The Amazon forest, due to the interaction of deforestation, fire and climate change, undergoes a widespread dieback, changing
from rainforest to savanna or seasonal forest over wide areas, especially in the East and South of the biome. The forest could
move into a self-perpetuating cycle in which fires become more frequent, drought more intense and dieback accelerates. Dieback of the Amazon will have global impacts through increased carbon emissions, accelerating climate change. It will also lead
to regional rainfall reductions that could compromise the sustainability of regional agriculture. ✤ The Sahel in Africa, under pressure from climate change and over-use of limited land resources, shifts to alternative, degraded
states, further driving desertification. Severe impacts on biodiversity and agricultural productivity result. Continued degradation of
the Sahel has caused and could continue to cause loss of biodiversity and shortages of food, fibre and water in Western Africa.
✤ Island ecosystems are afflicted by a cascading set of extinctions and ecosystem instabilities, due to the impact of invasive
alien species. Islands are particularly vulnerable to such invasions as communities of species have evolved in isolation and
often lack defences against predators and disease organisms. As the invaded communities become increasingly altered and
impoverished, vulnerability to new invasions may increase.
BEFORE
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 74
Alternative paths:
Alleviating pressure from land use changes in the tropics is essential, if the negative impacts of loss of terrestrial biodiversity and
associated ecosystem services are to be minimized. This involves a combination of measures, including an increase in productivity from existing crop and pasture lands, reducing post-harvest losses, sustainable forest management and moderating excessive
and wasteful meat consumption.
Full account should be taken of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with large-scale conversion of forests and other ecosystems into cropland. This will prevent perverse incentives for the destruction of biodiversity through large-scale deployment of biofuel crops, in the name of climate change mitigation [See Figures 19 and 20]. When emissions from land-use change rather than
just energy emissions are factored in, plausible development pathways emerge that tackle climate change without widespread
biofuel use. Use of payments for ecosystem services, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)
mechanisms may help align the objectives of addressing biodiversity loss and climate change. However, these systems must be
carefully designed, as conserving areas of high carbon value will not necessarily conserve areas of high conservation importance
– this is being recognized in the development of so-called “REDD-Plus” mechanisms.
Tipping points are most likely to be avoided if climate change mitigation to keep average temperature increases below 2 degrees
Celsius is accompanied by action to reduce other factors pushing the ecosystem towards a changed state. For example, in the
Amazon it is estimated that keeping deforestation below 20% of the original forest extent will greatly reduce the risk of widespread dieback. As current trends will likely take cumulative deforestation to 20% of the Brazilian Amazon at or near 2020, a
programme of significant forest restoration would be a prudent measure to build in a margin of safety. Better forest management options in the Mediterranean, including the greater use of native broad-leaf species in combination with improved spatial
planning, could make the region less fire-prone. In the Sahel, better governance, poverty alleviation and assistance with farming
techniques will provide alternatives to current cycles of poverty and land degradation.
Avoiding biodiversity loss in terrestrial areas will also involve new approaches to conservation, both inside designated protected areas
and beyond their boundaries. In particular, greater attention must be given to the management of biodiversity in human-dominated landscapes, because of the increasingly important role these areas will play as biodiversity corridors as species and communities migrate due
to climate change.
There are opportunities for rewilding landscapes from farmland abandonment in some regions – in Europe, for example, about
200 000 square kilometers of land are expected to be freed up by 2050. Ecological restoration and reintroduction of large herbivores and carnivores will be important in creating self-sustaining ecosystems with minimal need for further human intervention.
AFTER
Amazon forest
BEFORE
AFTER
Island ecosystems
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 75
FIGURE 19
Projected forest loss until 2050 under different scenarios
Billion ha
7
6
5
4
3
2
MiniCam
GBO-2
1
MA
GEO-4
0
2000
2010
2020
2030
2040
2050
The graph shows projections of global forest cover to 2050, according to various scenarios from four assessments which assume different approaches
to environmental concerns, regional co-operation, economic growth and other factors. These include three earlier assessments (Millennium Ecosystem
Assessment, Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 and Global Environmental Outlook 4) and one model (MiniCam, developed for the fifth assessment report of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). When the different scenarios are considered together, the gap between better and worse outcomes for
biodiversity is wider than has been suggested in any one of the earlier assessments. In addition, the MiniCam scenarios shows a greater range still. They
mainly represent the contrasting outcomes for forests depending on whether or not carbon emissions from land use change are taken into account in
climate change mitigation strategies.
Source: Leadley and Pereira et al (2010)
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 76
FIGURE 20
Land use change under different scenarios
Scenario
A
Scenario A
100%
100%
80%80%
Forest
Forest
60%60%
40%40%
20%
20%
Biofuels
Grassland
Grassland
Biofuels
Crops
Crops
0%
0% 1990 2005 2020 2035 2050 2065 2080 2095
1990 2005 2020 2035 2050 2065 2080 2095
Urban land
Urban land
Rock, ice, desert
Rock, ice, desert
Other arable land
Other arable land
Scenario B
100% B
Scenario
Tundra
100%
ShrubLand
Forest
Tundra
ShrubLand
80%
80%
Forest
60%
Forest
60%
40%
Grassland
Biofuels
Crops
0%
Grassland
1990 2005 2020 2035
2050 2065 2080
2095
Biofuels
Crops
0%
Scenario
C
1990 2005
2020 2035 2050 2065 2080 2095
100%
Unmanaged
forest
Unmanaged
pasture
Pasture
Unmanaged pasture
Rice
Biofuels
Sugar crops
Rice
Other grain
Sugar crops
Oil crops
Other grain
Miscellaneous crops
Oil crops
Scenario C
100%80%
Crops
Fodder crops
Miscellaneous crops
Fiber crops
Forest
80%60%
Crops
Fodder crops
Corn
Biofuels
Forest
40%
Fiber crops
Wheat
Corn
60%
Biofuels
40%
Source: Wise et al. (2009). Science
Biofuels
Grassland
20%
20%
Under scenario C, there is a dramatic
decline in both forests and pasture as
more land is devoted to the production
of biofuels. The dramatic difference in the
remaining extent of forests and pasture
by 2095 under the respective scenarios
emphasizes the importance of taking land
use into account when designing policies
to combat climate change.
Grassland
Pasture
40%
20%
Forest forest
Unmanaged
The three images represent a comparison
of different global land use patterns under
different scenarios from 1990 until 2095
for the same MiniCam scenarios as those
shown in figure 19. Scenario A represents
land use under a business as usual scenario. Scenario B illustrates a scenario in
which incentives, equivalent to a global
carbon tax, are applied to all carbon dioxide emissions, including those resulting
from land use change, to keep carbon
dioxide concentrations below 450 parts
per million. Scenario C illustrates what will
happen if the incentives apply to carbon
dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industrial emissions only, with no consideration of emissions from land use change.
Grassland
Wheat
Crops
0%
20% 1990 2005 2020 2035 2050 2065 2080 2095
Grassland
Crops
0%
1990 2005 2020 2035 2050 2065 2080 2095
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 77
Inland water ecosystems to 2100
Current path:
Impacts for people:
Inland water ecosystems continue to be subjected to massive changes as a result of multiple pressures, and biodiversity to be lost more rapidly than in other types of ecosystem.
Challenges related to water availability and quality multiply
globally, with increasing water demands exacerbated by a
combination of climate change, the introduction of alien species, pollution and dam construction, putting further pressure on freshwater biodiversity and the services it provides.
Dams, weirs, reservoirs for water supply and diversion for irrigation and industrial purposes increasingly create physical
barriers blocking fish movements and migrations, endangering or extinguishing many freshwater species. Fish species
unique to a single basin become especially vulnerable to
climate change. One projection suggests fewer fish species
in around 15% of rivers by 2100, from climate change and
increased water withdrawals alone. River basins in developing countries face the introduction of a growing number of
non-native organisms as a direct result of economic activity,
increasing the risk of biodiversity loss from invasive species.
The overall projected degradation of inland waters and the
services they provide casts uncertainty over the prospects
for food production from freshwater ecosystems. This is important, because approximately 10% of wild harvested fish
are caught from inland waters, and frequently make up large
fractions of dietary protein for riverside or lake communities.
In addition, there is a high risk of dramatic loss of biodiversity and degradation of services from freshwater
ecosystems if certain thresholds are crossed. Plausible scenarios include:
✤ Freshwater eutrophication caused by the build-up of phosphates and nitrates from agricultural fertilizers, sewage effluent and
urban stormwater runoff shifts freshwater bodies, especially lakes, into an algae-dominated (eutrophic) state. As the algae decay,
oxygen levels in the water are depleted, and there is widespread die-off of other aquatic life including fish. A recycling mechanism is
activated which can keep the system eutrophic even after nutrient levels are substantially reduced. The eutrophication of freshwater
systems, exacerbated in some regions by decreasing precipitation and increasing water stress, can lead to declining fish availability
with implications for nutrition in many developing countries. There will also be loss of recreation opportunities and tourism income,
and in some cases health risks for people and livestock from toxic algal blooms.
✤ Changing patterns of melting of snow and glaciers in mountain regions, due to climate change, cause irreversible changes
to some freshwater ecosystems. Warmer water, greater run-off during a shortened melt-season and longer periods with
low flows disrupt the natural functioning of rivers, and ecological processes which are influenced by the timing, duration
and volume of flows. Impacts will include, among many others, loss of habitat, changes to the timing of seasonal responses
(phenology), and changes to water chemistry.
BEFORE
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 78
Alternative paths:
There is large potential to minimize impacts on water quality and reducing the risk of eutrophication, through investment in
sewage treatment, wetland protection and restoration, and control of agricultural run-off, particularly in the developing world.
There are also widespread opportunities to improve the efficiency of water use, especially in agriculture and industry. This will
help to minimize the tradeoffs between increasing demand for fresh water and protection of the many services provided by
healthy freshwater ecosystems.
More integrated management of freshwater ecosystems will help reduce negative impacts from competing pressures. Restoration
of disrupted processes such as reconnecting floodplains, managing dams to mimic natural flows and re-opening access to fish
habitats blocked by dams, can help to reverse degradation. Payments for ecosystem services, such as the protection of upstream
watersheds through conservation of riparian forests, can reward communities that ensure continued provision of those services
to users of inland water resources in different parts of a basin.
Spatial planning and protected area networks can be adapted more specifically to the needs of freshwater systems, by safeguarding the essential processes in rivers and wetlands, and their interactions with terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Protection of
rivers that are still unfragmented can be seen as a priority in the conservation of inland water biodiversity. Maintaining connectivity within river basins will be increasingly important, so that species are better able to migrate in response to climate change.
Even with the most aggressive measures to mitigate climate change, significant changes to snow and glacier melt regimes are
inevitable, and are already being observed. However, the impacts on biodiversity can be reduced by minimizing other stresses
such as pollution, habitat loss and water abstraction, as this will increase the capacity of aquatic species and ecosystems to adapt
to changes in snow and glacier melting.
AFTER
Snow and glaciers
BEFORE
AFTER
Freshwater eutrophication
Global Biodiversity Outlook 30 | 79
Marine and coastal ecosystems to 2100
Current path:
Impacts for people:
Demand for seafood continues to grow as population increases and more people have sufficient income to include
it in their diet. Wild fish stocks continue to come under pressure, and aquaculture expands. Progressively fishing down
the marine food web comes at the expense of marine biodiversity (continuing decline in marine trophic index in many
marine areas). Climate change causes fish populations to
redistribute towards the poles, and tropical oceans become
comparatively less diverse. Sea level rise threatens many
coastal ecosystems. Ocean acidification weakens the ability
of shellfish, corals and marine phytoplankton to form their
skeletons, threatening to undermine marine food webs as
well as reef structure. Increasing nutrient loads and pollution
increase the incidence of coastal dead zones, and increased
globalization creates more damage from alien invasive species transported in ship ballast water.
The decline of fish stocks and their redistribution towards
the poles has major implications for food security and nutrition in poor tropical regions, as communities often rely on
fish protein to supplement their diet. The impact of sea level
rise, by reducing the area of coastal ecosystems, will increase
hazards to human settlements, and the degradation of coastal ecosystems and coral reefs will have very negative impacts
on the tourism industry.
In addition, there is a high risk of dramatic loss of biodiversity and degradation of services from marine and
coastal ecosystems if certain thresholds are crossed. Plausible scenarios include:
✤ The combined impacts of ocean acidification and warmer sea temperatures make tropical coral reef systems vulnerable
to collapse. More acidic water (brought about by higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere) decreases the availability of the carbonate ions required to build coral skeletons. At atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations of 450 parts per million
(ppm), the growth of calcifying organisms is inhibited in nearly all tropical and sub-tropical coral reefs. At 550 ppm, coral reefs are
dissolving. Together with the bleaching impact of warmer water, and a range of other human-induced stresses, reefs increasingly
become algae-dominated with catastrophic loss of biodiversity.
oastal wetland systems become reduced to narrow fringes or are lost entirely, in what may be described as a “coastal
✤C
squeeze”. This is due to sea level rise, exacerbated by coastal developments such as aquaculture ponds. The process is
further reinforced by greater coastal erosion created by the weakened protection provided by tidal wetlands. Further deterioration of coastal ecosystems, including coral reefs, will also have wide-ranging consequences for millions of people whose
livelihoods depend on the resources they provide. The physical degradation of coastal ecosystems such as salt marshes and
mangroves will also make coastal communities more vulnerable to onshore storms and tidal surges. ✤ The collapse of large predator species in the oceans, triggered by overexploitation, leads to an ecosystem shift towards the
dominance of less desirable, more resilient species such as jellyfish. Marine ecosystems under such a shift become much
less able to provide the quantity and quality of food needed by people. Such changes could prove to be long-lasting and
difficult to reverse even with significant reduction in fishing pressure, as suggested by the lack of recovery of cod stocks off
Newfoundland since the collapse of the early 1990s.The collapse of regional fisheries could also have wide-ranging social
and economic consequences, including unemployment and economic losses.
BEFORE
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 80
Alternative paths:
More rational management of ocean fisheries can take a range of pathways, including stricter enforcement of existing rules to
prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Scenarios suggest that the decline of marine biodiversity could be stopped if
fisheries management focuses on rebuilding ecosystems rather than maximizing catch in the short-run. Fishery models suggest
that modest catch reductions could yield substantial improvements in ecosystem condition while also improving the profitability
and sustainability of fisheries. The development of low-impact aquaculture, dealing with the sustainability issues that have
troubled some parts of the industry, would also help to meet the rising demand for fish without adding pressure on wild stocks.
The reduction of other forms of stress on coral systems may make them less vulnerable to the impacts of acidification and warmer
waters. For example, reducing coastal pollution will remove an added stimulus to the growth of algae, and reducing overexploitation of herbivorous fish will keep the coral/algae symbiosis in balance, increasing the resilience of the system.
Planning policies that allow marshes, mangroves and other coastal ecosystems to migrate inland will make them more resilient
to the impact of sea level rise, and thus help to protect the vital services they provide. Protection of inland processes including
the transport of sediments to estuaries would also prevent sea level rise from being compounded by sinking deltas or estuaries.
AFTER
Tropical coral reefs
BEFORE
AFTER
Coastal wetlands
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 81
Towards a Strategy
for Reducing
Biodiversity Loss
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 82
Well-targeted policies focusing on critical areas, species and ecosystem services can help
to avoid the most dangerous impacts on people and societies from biodiversity loss in the
near-term future, which it will be extremely
challenging to avoid. In the longer term,
biodiversity loss may be halted and then reversed, if urgent, concerted and effective action is applied in support of an agreed longterm vision. The 2010 review of the strategic
plan for the Convention on Biological Diversity provides an opportunity to define such a vision and set time-bound targets to stimulate
the action required to achieve it.
A key lesson from the failure to meet the 2010 biodiversity target is that the urgency of a change of
direction must be conveyed to decision-makers
beyond the constituency so far involved in the biodiversity convention. The CBD has very nearly
universal participation from the world’s governments, yet those involved in its implementation
rarely have the influence to promote action at
the level required to effect real change.
Thus, while the activities of environmental departments and agencies in tackling specific
threats to species, and expanding protected areas, has been and continues to be extremely important, they are easily undermined by decisions
from other ministries that fail to apply strategic
thinking on policies and actions that impact on
ecosystems and other components of biodiversity.
Mainstreaming therefore needs to be seen as
the genuine understanding by government
machinery as a whole that the future well-being of society depends on defending the natural infrastructure on which we all depend. To
some extent, this approach is already working
its way through some government systems on
the question of climate change, with “climateproofing” of policies becoming a more common
practice. Some trade-offs between conservation
and development are inevitable, and it is important that decisions are informed by the best
available information and that the tradeoffs are
clearly recognized up-front.
Systematic proofing of policies for their impact on
biodiversity and ecosystem services would ensure
not only that biodiversity was better protected, but
that climate change itself was more effectively addressed. Conservation of biodiversity, and, where
necessary restoration of ecosystems, can be costeffective interventions for both mitigation of and
adaptation to climate change, often with substantial co-benefits.
It is clear from the scenarios outlined above that
addressing the multiple drivers of biodiversity
loss is a vital form of climate change adaptation.
Looked at in a positive way, this understanding
gives us more options. We do not need to resign
ourselves to the fact that due to the time lags
built into climate change, we are powerless to
protect coastal communities against sea level
rise, dry regions against fire and drought, or river-valley dwellers against floods and landslides.
The real
benefits of
biodiversity,
and the costs
of its loss,
need to be
reflected
within
economic
systems and
markets
Although it will not address all climate impacts,
targeting ecosystem pressures over which we
have more immediate control will help to ensure that ecosystems continue to be resilient
and to prevent some dangerous tipping points
from being reached.
If accompanied by determined action to reduce
emissions – with the conservation of forests and
other carbon-storing ecosystems given due priority in mitigation strategies – then biodiversity
protection can help buy time, while the climate
system responds to a stabilizing of greenhouse
gas concentrations.
Important incentives for the conservation of biodiversity can emerge from systems that ensure fair
and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out
of the use of genetic resources, the third objective of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In
practice, this means drawing up rules and agreements that strike a fair balance between facilitating access to companies or researchers seeking to use genetic material, and ensuring that the
entitlements of governments and local communities are respected, including the granting of informed consent prior to access taking place, and
the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising
from the use of genetic resources and associated
traditional knowledge.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 83
Better
decisions for
biodiversity
must be made
at all levels and
in all sectors
Development of systems for access and benefitsharing (ABS) has been slow, and negotiations on
an international regime to regulate such agreements have been long and protracted. However,
individual examples have shown the way that
communities, companies and biodiversity can
each benefit from ABS agreements. [See Box 22].
With the deadline for the 2010 target now here,
the global community must consider what
long-term vision it is seeking, and the type of
medium-term targets that might set us on the
road towards achieving it. These targets must
also be translated into action at the national
level though national biodiversity strategies
and action plans, and treated as a mainstream
issue across government.
From analysis of the failure so far to slow
biodiversity loss, the following elements
might be considered for a future strategy [See
Figure 21]:
✤ Where possible, tackle the indirect drivers
of biodiversity loss. This is hard, because it
involves issues such as consumption and
lifestyle choices, and long-term trends like
population increase. However, as the analysis
conducted as part of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) illustrates,
public engagement with the issues combined
BOX 22 Sharing the benefits of biodiversity access – examples from Africa
✤ Vernonia (Vernonia galamensis), a tall weed en-
demic to Ethiopia, has shiny black seeds rich in
oil. The oil is being investigated for its possible use
as a “green chemical” in the production of plastic
compounds that are currently only made from petrochemicals. In 2006, a British company, Vernique
Biotech, signed a 10 year agreement with the
Ethiopian Government to have access to Vernonia
and to commercialize its oil. As part of the deal,
Vernique Biotech will pay a combination of licence
fees, royalties and a share of its profits to the Ethiopian Government. In addition, local farmers will be
paid to grow Vernonia on land which is otherwise
unsuitable to grow food.
✤ Uganda is one of the few African countries that has
developed specific regulations on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing. Introduced in
2005 as part of the National Environment Act, the
regulations set out procedures for access to genetic resources, provide for the sharing of benefits
derived from genetic resources; and promote the
sustainable management and utilization of genetic
resources, thereby contributing to conservation of
biological resources in Uganda.
FIGURE 21 Why the 2010 Biodiversity Target was not met, and what we need to do in the future
UNDERLYING
CAUSES
P O S T
P R E
STATE OF
BIODIVERSITY
R E S P O N S E S
R E S P O N S E S
DIRECT
PRESSURES
2 0 1 0
2 0 1 0
BENEFITS FROM
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 84
One of the main reasons for the failure to meet the 2010 Biodiversity Target at the
global level is that actions tended to focus on measures that mainly responded
to changes in the state of biodiversity, such as protected areas and programmes
targeted at particular species, or which focused on the direct pressures of biodiversity loss, such as pollution control measures.
For the most part, the underlying causes of biodiversity have not been addressed
in a meaningful manner; nor have actions been directed ensuring we continue
to receive the benefits from ecosystem services over the long term. Moreover,
actions have rarely matched the scale or the magnitude of the challenges they
were attempting to address. In the future, in order to ensure that biodiversity is
effectively conserved, restored and wisely used, and that it continues to deliver
the benefits essential for all people, action must be expanded to additional levels
and scales. Direct pressures on biodiversity must continue to be addressed, and
actions to improve the state of biodiversity maintained, although on a much larger
scale. In addition, actions must be developed to address the underlying causes of
biodiversity loss, and to ensure that biodiversity continues to provide the ecosystem services essential to human wellbeing.
Source: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
with appropriate pricing and incentives (including the removal of perverse subsidies)
could reduce some of these drivers, for example by encouraging more moderate, less
wasteful – and more healthy – levels of meat
consumption. Awareness of the impact of
excessive use of water, energy and materials
can help to limit rising demand for resources
from growing and more prosperous populations.
✤ International and national rules and frameworks for markets and economic activities can
and must be adjusted and developed in such a
way that they contribute to safeguarding and
sustainably using biodiversity, instead of threatening it as they have often done in the past.
Using pricing, fiscal policies and other mechanisms to reflect the real value of ecosystems,
powerful incentives can be created to reverse
patterns of destruction that result from the
under-valuation of biodiversity. An important
step will be for governments to expand their
economic objectives beyond what is measured
by GDP alone, recognizing other measures of
wealth and well-being that take natural capital
and other concepts into account.
✤ Use every opportunity to break the link between the indirect and direct drivers of biodiversity loss – in other words, prevent underlying pressures such as population increase
and increased consumption from inevitably
leading to pressures such as loss of habitat,
pollution or over-exploitation. This involves
much more efficient use of land, water, sea
and other resources to meet existing and future demand [See figure 22]. Better spatial
planning to safeguard areas important for
biodiversity and ecosystem services is essential. Specific measures such as addressing the
pathways of invasive species transfers can
prevent increased trade from acting as a driver of ecosystem damage.
✤ Efficiency in the use of a natural resource
must be balanced with the need to maintain ecosystem functions and resilience. This
involves finding an appropriate level of intensity in the use of resources, for example
increasing productivity of agricultural land
while maintaining a diverse landscape, and
reducing fishing intensity below the so-called
maximum sustainable yield. An ecosystemlevel approach will be required to establish
this balance.
✤ Where multiple drivers are combining to
weaken ecosystems, aggressive action to reduce those more amenable to rapid intervention can be prioritized, while longer-term efforts continue to moderate more intractable
drivers, such as climate change and ocean
acidification. The many human pressures on
coral reefs, mentioned above, provide an example of where this strategy can be applied.
Number of environmental impact assessments
300
250
200
FIGURE 22 Environmental impact assessment
in Egypt
Since 1998, the number of environmental impact assessments conducted in Egypt has been steadily increasing,
with a marked increase in 2008. Environmental impact assessments have been undertaken to review enforcement of
environmental laws and to monitor Egypt’s adherence to international conventions, amongst other things. The increased
use of environmental impact assessment in Egypt mirrors a
similar global trend. The use of strategic environmental impact assessment is also increasing globally, though its use
still remains very low.
Source: Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency
150
100
50
0
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 85
With adequate
resources and
political will, the
tools exist
for loss of
biodiversity to
be reduced at
wider scales
✤ Avoid unnecessarily tradeoffs resulting from
maximizing one ecosystem service at the expense of another. Substantial benefits for biodiversity can often arise from only slight limits on the exploitation of other benefits – such
as agricultural production. An example is
that funds to reward protection of forest carbon stocks could dramatically improve species conservation, if targeted towards areas of
high biodiversity value, with a tiny marginal
increase in cost.
✤C
ontinue direct action to conserve biodiversity, targeting vulnerable and culturally-valued
species and habitats, and critical sites for biodiversity, combined with priority actions to
safeguard key ecosystem services, particularly those of importance to the poor such as the
provision of food and medicines. This should
include the protection of functional ecological groups – that is, those species collectively
responsible for the provision of ecosystem
services such as pollination, maintenance of
healthy predator- prey relationships, cycling
of nutrients and soil formation.
✤ Take full advantage of opportunities to contribute to climate change mitigation through
conservation and restoration of forests, peatlands, wetlands and other ecosystems that
capture and store large amounts of carbon;
and climate change adaptation through investing in “natural infrastructure”, and plan-
ning for geographical shifts in species and
communities by maintaining and enhancing
ecological connectivity across landscapes
and inland water ecosystems.
✤ Use national programmes or legislation to
create a favourable environment to support
effective “bottom-up” initiatives led by communities, local authorities, or businesses.
This also includes empowering indigenous
peoples and local communities to take responsibility for biodiversity management and
decision-making; and developing systems to
ensure that the benefits arising from access
to genetic resources are equitably shared
[See Box 23].
✤ Strengthen efforts to communicate better the
links between biodiversity, ecosystem services, poverty alleviation and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Through education
and more effective dissemination of scientific
knowledge, a much wider section of the public and decision-makers could be made aware
of the role and value of biodiversity and the
steps needed to conserve it.
✤ Increasingly, restoration of terrestrial, inland
water and marine ecosystems will be needed
to re-establish ecosystem functioning and
the provision of valuable ecosystem services. A recent analysis of schemes to restore
degraded ecosystems showed that, overall,
BOX 23 Local action for biodiversity
Actions by local communities to conserve biodiversity occur worldwide and most countries indicate that they have mechanisms in place for comanagement and or community management of biological resources. Though these actions occur on relatively small scales, and can often go unrecognized, they can none the less have significant positive impacts on local biodiversity conditions and human wellbeing. For example:
✤ The Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area Network in Vanuatu , which is composed of 16 village collaborations across two islands, works to strengthen traditional governance strucutures while enabling more effective natural resource management. Since the initiative began in 2002 there have
been significant increases in fish biomass, marine invertebrate abundance and live coral cover within community reserves as well as an increase in
villagers average income, largely as a result of ecotourism. The Network has also encouraged a resurgence in local cultural and lingusitics traditions
as well as the increased invovlement of women and children in governce and decision making processes.
✤ The Tmatboey village borders the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Cambodia, an area known for its endangered bird populations
such as the white-shouldered ibis (Pseudibis davisoni). Given its proximity to the wildlife sanctuary ecotourism is particularly important to the village. To promote sustainable use of the sanctuary the Tmatboey Community Protected Area Committee has, amongst other things, established a
comprehensive land use plan for the village and implemented a hunting ban. As a result of the Committees actions the declines of some critically
endangered endemic wildlife species has stopped and has even been reversed while deforestation and encroachment into key wildlife areas has
declined. As revenues from ecotourism are reinvested into local infrastructure the actions of the committee have also helped to promote sustainable development in the village.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 86
such schemes are successful in improving
the status of biodiversity. Moreover, economic
analysis conducted by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), shows that
ecosystem restoration may give good economic rates of return when considering the
long-term provision of ecosystem services.
However the levels of biodiversity and ecosystem services remained below the levels of
the pristine ecosystems, reinforcing the argument that, where possible, avoiding degradation through conservation is preferable (and
even more cost-effective) than restoration
after the event. Restoration can take decades
to have a significant impact, and will be more
effective for some ecosystems than for others. In some cases, restoration of ecosystems
will not be possible as the impacts of degradation are irreversible.
may pay dearly in the form of ecosystems incapable of meeting the basic needs of humanity.
The rewards for coherent action, on the other
hand, are great. Not only will the stunning variety of life on Earth be much more effectively
protected, but human societies will be much
better equipped to provide healthy, secure and
prosperous livelihoods in the challenging decades ahead.
Addressing biodiversity loss at each of these levels will involve a major shift in perception and
priorities on the part of decision-makers, and the
engagement of all sections of society, including
the private sector. For the most part, we know
what needs to be done, but political will, perseverance and courage will be required to carry out
these actions at the necessary scale and address
the underlying causes of biodiversity loss.
In 2008-9, the world’s governments rapidly mobilized hundreds of billions of dollars to prevent collapse of a financial system whose flimsy foundations took the markets by surprise. Now we have
clear warnings of the potential breaking points
towards which we are pushing the ecosystems that
have shaped our civilizations. For a fraction of the
money summoned up instantly to avoid economic
meltdown, we can avoid a much more serious and
fundamental breakdown in the Earth’s life support
systems.
Continued failure to slow current trends has
potential consequences even more serious than
previously anticipated, and future generations
The overall message of this Outlook is clear. We can
no longer see the continued loss of biodiversity as
an issue separate from the core concerns of society:
to tackle poverty, to improve the health, prosperity
and security of present and future generations, and
to deal with climate change. Each of those objectives
is undermined by current trends in the state of our
ecosystems, and each will be greatly strengthened if
we finally give biodiversity the priority it deserves.
There are
greater
opportunities
than
previously
recognized to
address the
biodiversity
crisis while
contributing
to other social
objectives
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 87
Acknowledgements
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 88
The preparation of the third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) began in 2006 following
the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
GBO-3, like its previous two editions, is an output of the processes under the Convention. Parties to the Convention, other Governments, and
observer organizations have helped to shape
the Outlook through their contributions during
various meetings as well as through their comments and inputs to earlier drafts of GBO-3.
GBO-3 has been prepared by the Secretariat of
the Convention on Biological Diversity, in close
collaboration with the World Conservation
Monitoring Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP-WCMC). Numerous partner organizations and individuals from
Governments, non-governmental organizations
and scientific networks have generously contributed their time, energy and expertise to the
preparation of GBO-3, which really is a product
of the collective efforts of this community. The
sheer number of organizations and people involved in GBO-3 makes it difficult to thank all
contributors by name and doing so runs the
risk that some may be overlooked. We sincerely
apologize to anyone who may have been unintentionally omitted.
The third and fourth national reports submitted by the Parties to the Convention have been
key sources of information in the preparation
of GBO-3. These reports, which detail the status
and trends of biodiversity at the national level
as well the successes and challenges in implementing the Convention, have influenced the
entire report and have in particular guided the
preparation of the chapter on future strategic
actions, alongside the process to update the
Convention’s Strategic Plan beyond 2010. The
Secretariat would like to thank the more than
110 Parties who had submitted their fourth national reports by the time GBO-3 was finalized.
One of the main purposes of GBO-3 is to report on the progress which has been made by
the world community towards the 2010 Biodiversity Target. This assessment, presented in
the first section of the report, is based on data
and analyses provided by the 2010 Biodiversity
Indicators Partnership, a network of organizations which have come together to provide the
most up-to-date biodiversity information pos-
sible in order to judge progress towards the
target. The Partnership is coordinated by UNEPWCMC, with the Secretariat supported by Anna
Chenery, Philip Bubb, Damon Stanwell-Smith
and Tristan Tyrrell. Indicator partners include
BirdLife International, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Global Footprint Network, the Global
Invasive Species Programme, the International
Nitrogen Initiative, IUCN, the Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development, the
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Nature Conservancy, the University of Queensland,
TRAFFIC International, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization,
the United Nations Environment Programme
GEMS/Water Programme, the UNEP-WCMC, the
University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre,
WWF, and the Zoological Society of London as
well as a number of Associate Indicator Partners. Global Environment Facility full-sized
project funding provided substantial financial
support for the activities of the Partnership, including development of many of the global indicators used in monitoring progress towards the
2010 target. Financial support was also provided
by the European Commission.
In preparing GBO-3 some 500 scholarly articles
were examined and multiple assessments from
international organizations were drawn upon.
This collection of scientific information, experiences and perspectives was fundamental to the
conclusions presented in GBO-3, and essential
in reinforcing the information contained in the
fourth national reports and that provided by the
2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership. In addition, case study material was provided by a large
number of partners amongst which the Equator
Initiative, the Small Grants Program of the Global Environment Facility and the Forest Peoples
Programme have been particularly active.
The section of GBO-3 on biodiversity scenarios
and tipping points is based on a larger study
prepared by DIVERSITAS and UNEP-WCMC. The
Secretariat would like to thank the lead authors
of this report Paul Leadley, Henrique Miguel
Pereira, Rob Alkemade, Vânia Proença, Jörn P.W.
Scharlemann, and Matt Walpole, as well as the
contributing authors John Agard, Miguel Araújo,
Andrew Balmford, Patricia Balvanera, Oonsie
Biggs, Laurent Bopp, William Cheung,
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 89
Philippe Ciais, David Cooper, Joanna C. Ellison,
Juan Fernandez-Manjarrés, Joana Figueiredo,
Eric Gilman, Sylvie Guenette, Bernard Hugueny,
George Hurtt, Henry P. Huntington, Michael Jennings, Fabien Leprieur, Corinne Le Quéré, Georgina Mace, Cheikh Mbow, Kieran Mooney, Aude
Neuville, Carlos Nobres, Thierry Oberdorf, Carmen Revenga, James C. Robertson, Patricia Rodrigues, Juan Carlos Rocha Gordo, Hisashi Sato,
Bob Scholes, Mark Stafford-Smith, Ussif Rashid
Sumaila, and Pablo A. Tedescco.
In order to ensure that the findings of GBO-3
were of the highest possible quality, two drafts
were made available for peer review between
August and December 2009. During this time
responses were received from almost 90 reviewers who provided more than 1,500 individual
comments. The Outlook was greatly enhanced
by these comments. The preparation of GBO-3
has been overseen by an Advisory Group and
a Scientific Advisory Panel. The Secretariat is
grateful for the guidance and support provided by the members: Thomas M. Brooks, Stuart
Butchart, Joji Carino, Nick Davidson, Braulio
Dias, Asghar Fazel, Tony Gross, Peter Herkenrath, Kazuaki Hoshino, John Hough, Jon Hutton,
Tom Lovejoy, Kathy MacKinnon, Tohru Nakashizuka, Carsten Neßhöver, Alfred Oteng-Yeboah,
Axel Paulsch, Balakrishna Pisupati, Jan Plesnik,
Christian Prip, Peter Schei, James Seyani, Jane
Smart, Oudara Souvannavong, Spencer Thomas, Matt Walpole, Dayuan Xue, and Abdul Hamid Zakri.
GBO-3 consists of a range of products. This main
report was prepared to provide a short and concise overview of current and projected biodiversity trends, and policy options to address biodiversity loss and negative impacts for human
well-being. Comments and additional information received through the peer review process
as well as case study examples that could not
be incorporated in the main report have mostly
been included in an extended technical document and will be made available online through
the GBO-3 web portal accessible from www.cbd.
int/gbo3. For reasons of readability, this version
of the report does not include scientific references. However, these can be consulted in an
annotated version also available on the GBO-3
web portal.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 90
GBO-3 was written by Tim Hirsch with Kieran
Mooney, Robert Höft and David Cooper. Ahmed
Djoghlaf and Jo Kalemani Mulongoy provided
guidance. Its production was managed by Robert Höft, Kieran Mooney and David Ainsworth.
In addition many Secretariat colleagues provided input and feedback on GBO-3 including Ahmed Abdullah, Véronique Allain, Claire
Baffert, Mateusz Banski, Caroline Belair, Lise
Boutin, Lijie Cai, Monique Chiasson, Tim Christophersen, David Coates, Olivier de Munck,
Charles Gbedemah, Linda Ghanimé, Christine
Gibb, Sarat Babu Gidda, Susanne Heitmuller,
Michael Hermann, Oliver Hillel, Christopher
Hogan, Lisa Janishevski, Claudia Kis Madrid,
Stefano La Tella, Jihyun Lee, Markus Lehmann,
Sandra Meehan, Djessy Monnier, Noriko Moriwake, Valerie Normand, Neil Pratt, Nadine
Saad, John Scott, Ravi Sharma, Junko Shimura,
Stella Simiyu, Gweneth Thirlwell, Alberto Vega,
Danush Viswanathan, Frédéric Vogel, Jaime
Webb, Anne-Marie Wilson, Kati Wenzel, and
Yibin Xiang.
Graphs were designed by In-folio. The layout
was prepared by Phoenix Design Aid. Camellia
Ibrahim assisted with photo selection.
Editing and proof-reading of the language versions was done by Abdelwahab Afefe, Anastasia Beliaeva, Lise Boutin, Lijie Cai, Clementina
Equihua Zamora, Moustafa Fouda, Thérèse Karim, Diane Klaimi, Nadine Saad, Jérôme Spaggiari and Tatiana Zavarzina.
The production of GBO-3 was enabled by financial contributions from Canada, the European
Union, Germany, Japan, Spain and the United
Kingdom, as well as UNEP.
While the Secretariat has taken great care to
ensure that all statements made in GBO-3 are
backed up by credible scientific evidence, it assumes full responsibility for any errors or omission in this work.
Photo Credits
Cover:
(The Earth in a drop) = © Shevs | Dreamstime.com
Page 52:
© Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
(Coral reef) = © Carlcphoto | Dreamstime.com
© Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
(Cattle with people) = © Claude Hamel
Page 53:
© Phillipmin... | Dreamstime.com
(Mountain and eagle) = © Urosmm | Dreamstime.com
Page 54:
© Oranhall | Dreamstime.com
Page 2:
© Kay Muldoon Ibrahim
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© Ricardo278 | Dreamstime.com
Page 4:
© I-rishka | Dreamstime.com
Page 58:
© Gail A Johnson | istockphoto.com
Page 8:
© Jeffthemon... | Dreamstime.com
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© Kodym | Dreamstime.com
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© David Coates
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© Lightcatch... | Dreamstime.com
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© Johnanders... | Dreamstime.com
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© Simon Gurney | istockphoto.com
Page 14:
© Tfaust | Dreamstime.com
© Charles Taylor | Shutter Stock.com
Page 16:
© Christian Carroll | istockphoto.com
© Joe McDaniel | istockphoto.com
Page 17:
© Parks Canada / Heiko Wittenborn
Page 64:
© Photawa | Dreamstime.com
Page 21:
© 0tvalo | Dreamstime.com
© Davecurrey | Dreamstime.com
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© Dejan750 | Dreamstime.com
© Billwarcho... | Dreamstime.com
© Ryszard | Dreamstime.com
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© Lucaplacid... | Dreamstime.com
© Ferdericb | Dreamstime.com
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© Slobo Mitic | istockphoto.com
© Chesterf | Dreamstime.com
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© Marjo Vierros
Page 25:
© Cathy Keifer | istockphoto.com
Page 73:
© Claude Hamel
Page 26:
© William Davies | istockphoto.com
Page 74-75: © 3000ad | Dreamstime.com
Page 28:
© Johnanders... | Dreamstime.com
© Tony1 | Dreamstime.com
© Deborahr | Dreamstime.com
© Kate Kiefer, Australian Antarctic Division
Page 29:
© Rudis | Dreamstime.com
© Kate Kiefer, Australian Antarctic Division
© Weknow | Dreamstime.com
Page 78-79: © Robert Höft
Page 31:
© Ajay Rastogi
© Robert Höft
© Ajay Rastogi
© Brighthori... | Dreamstime.com
Page 32:
© Charles Besançon
© Barsik | Dreamstime.com
Page 33:
© luoman | istockphoto.com
Page 80-81: © Ilanbt | Dreamstime.com
Page 34:
© Nmedia | Dreamstime.com
© Alexedmond... | Dreamstime.com
© Jan Rihak | istockphoto.com
© Erikgauger | Dreamstime.com
© Hoshino Village, Fukuoka, Japan
© Spanishale... | Dreamstime.com
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© Jmjm | Dreamstime.com
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© Leightonph... | Dreamstime.com
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© Robert Höft
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© Invisiblev... | Dreamstime.com
Page 41:
© Tupungato | Dreamstime.com
Page 88:
© Claude Hamel
Page 42:
© Ellah | Dreamstime.com
Back cover: (Boat on a river) = © David Cooper
Page 44:
© Jan Kofod Winther
(Trees with person) = © Luis Alfonso Argüelles
Page 45:
© Peter Malsbury | istockphoto.com
(Woman with beans) = © Louise Sperling
Page 47:
© Pniesen | Dreamstime.com
(Shark) = © Lenta | Dreamstime.com
Page 49:
© Desislava Nikolova | istockphoto.com
(Gorilla) = © Warwick Lister-Kaye | istockphoto.com
Page 50:
© Francisco Ramananjatovo
(Frog) = © Geckophoto | Dreamstime.com
© Carl Chapman | istockphoto.com
(Field) = © Alexsol | Dreamstime.com
© Jerl71 | Dreamstime.com
(Forest) = © Lagustin | Dreamstime.com
© Jerry Oldenettel | flickr.com
(Leaf background) = © Cobalt88 | Dreamstime.com
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 91
List of Boxes, Tables and Figures
Boxes
Box 1:
Box 2:
Box 3:
Box 4:
Box 5:
Box 6:
Box 7:
Box 8:
Box 9:
Box 10:
Box 11:
Box 12:
Box 13:
Box 14:
Box 15:
Box 16:
Box 17:
Box 18:
Box 19:
Box 20:
Box 21:
Box 22:
Box 23:
Biodiversity, the CBD and the 2010 Target
National action on biodiversity
Why biodiversity matters
How extinction risk is assessed
The Brazilian Amazon – a slowing of deforestation
Traditionally managed landscapes and biodiversity
Terrestrial protected areas
Protecting the Noah’s arks of biodiversity
Cultural and biological diversity
What is at stake?
What is at stake?
The Great Barrier Reef – a struggle for ecosystem resilience
Locally managed marine areas (LMMAs)
What is at stake?
Arctic sea ice and biodiversity
The European Union’s Nitrates Directive
Managing marine food resources for the future
Documenting Europe’s alien species
Successful control of alien invasive species
Trends in indigenous languages
What is a tipping point?
Sharing the benefits of biodiversity access – examples from Africa
Local action for biodiversity
Tables
Table 1: Table 2: Status of agreed subsidiary targets to 2010 biodiversity target
Trends shown by agreed indicators of progress towards the 2010 biodiversity target
Figures
Figure 1: Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity
(Source - Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity)
Figure 2: Living Planet Index
(Source - Adapted from WWF/ Zoological Society of London)
Figure 3: Proportion of species in different threat categories
(Source - Adapted from J.-C. Vié, C. Hilton-Taylor and S. N. Stuart (eds). The 2008 review of the IUCN
Red List of Threatened Species. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN)
Figure 4: Threat status of species in comprehensively assessed taxonomic groups
(Source - Adapted from Hilton-Taylor, C., Pollock, C., Chanson, J., Butchart, S. H. M., Oldfield, T. and
Katariya, V. (2008) Status of the world's species. Pp 15-42 in: J.-C. Vié, C. Hilton-Taylor and S. N.
Stuart (eds). The 2008 review of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN)
Figure 5: Red List Index
(Source - Adapted from Hilton-Taylor, C., Pollock, C., Chanson, J., Butchart, S. H. M., Oldfield, T. and
Katariya, V. (2008) Status of the world’s species. Pp 15–42 in: J.-C. Vié, C. Hilton-Taylor and S. N.
Stuart (eds). The 2008 review of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN)
Figure 6: Conservation status of medicinal plant species in different geographic regions
(Source - Adapted from J.-C. Vié, C. Hilton-Taylor and S. N. Stuart (eds). The 2008 review of the IUCN
Red List of Threatened Species. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN)
Figure 7: Annual and cumulative deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon
(Source - Adapted from Brazilian National Space Research Institute (INPE) and the Brazilian
Ministry of Environment (MMA))
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 92
Figure 8: Extent of national designated protected areas
(Source - Adapted from UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (2009) World Database on
Protected Areas (WDPA))
Figure 9: Protection of critical biodiversity sites
(Source - Adapted from Stuart Butchart/Alliance for Zero Extinction)
Figure 10: Coverage of terrestrial protected areas by ecoregions
(Source – Bastian Bomhard, adapted from Coad, L., Burgess, et.al. (2009). The ecological representativeness of the global protected areas estate in 2009: progress towards the CBD 2010 target.
UNEP-WCMC, WWF-US and the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.
Figure 11: Malaysia river basin quality
(Source - Adapted from Government of Malaysia - Ministry of Natural Resources and
Environment (2009). Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity and
Malaysia Department of Environment (2009). Malaysia Environment Quality Report 2008.
Department of Environment.
Figure 12: China’s Marine Trophic Index
(Source - Adapted from Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (2008). China’s Fourth
National Report on Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and Xu, H., Tang,
X., Liu, J., Ding, H., Wu, J., Zhang, M., Yang, Q., et al. (2009). China's Progress toward the Significant
Reduction of the Rate of Biodiversity Loss. BioScience, 59(10), 843-852)
Figure 13: Extinction risk of livestock breeds
(Source - Adapted from FAO. (2007). The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food
and Agriculture, edited by Barbara Rischkowsky & Dafydd Pilling. Rome)
Figure 14: Arctic sea ice
(Source - Adapted from NSIDC (2009) Sea Ice Index. Boulder, Colorado USA: National Snow and
Ice Data Center)
Figure 15: Marine “dead zones”
(Source - Updated and adapted from Diaz, R. J., & Rosenberg, R. (2008). Spreading Dead Zones
and Consequences for Marine Ecosystems. Science, 321(5891)
Figure 16: Nitrogen balance in Europe
(Source - Adapted from OECD (2008) Environmental Performance of Agriculture in OECD
countries)
Figure 17: Summary of biodiversity indicators
(Source - Adapted from Butchart, S. H. M., Walpole, M., et.al. (2010) Global biodiversity: indicators
of recent declines. Science (in press)
Figure 18: Tipping points – an illustration of the concept
(Source - Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity)
Figure 19: Projected forest loss until 2050 under different scenarios
(Source - Adapted from Leadley, P., Pereira, H.M., et.al. (2010) Biodiversity Scenarios: Projections of
21st century change in biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal. Technical Series no. 50)
Figure 20: Land use change under different scenarios
(Source -Adapted from Wise, M., Calvin, K., Thomson, A., Clarke, L., Bond-Lamberty, B., Sands, R.,
Smith, S. J., et al. (2009). Implications of Limiting CO2 Concentrations for Land Use and Energy. Science, 324(5931), 1183-1186)
Figure 21: Why the 2010 biodiversity target was not and we need to do in the future
(Source - Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity)
Figure 22: Environmental impact assessment in Egypt
(Source - Adapted from Arab Republic of Egypt (2009). Egypt State of Environment Report 2008.
Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency)
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 93
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 94
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3
Global Biodiversity Outlook 3
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
World Trade Centre · 413 St. Jacques Street, Suite 800
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9
Phone: 1(514) 288 2220 · Fax: 1 (514) 288 6588
E-mail: [email protected] · Website: http://www.cbd.int
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