Global biodiversity outlook

Embed Size (px)

Text of Global biodiversity outlook

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Table of Contents

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 3

    Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 (ISBN-92-9225-220-8) is an open access publication,subject to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(

    Copyright is retained by the Secretariat.Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 is freely available online: An annotatedversion of the publication with complete references is also available from the website.Users may download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy text, gures, graphsand photos from Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, so long as the original source is credited.

    The designations employed and the presentation of material in Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of theConvention on Biological Diversity concerning the legal status of any country, territory,city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

    Citation:Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) Global Biodiversity Outlook 3.Montral, 94 pages.

    Foreword ........................................................................................................ 4Foreword by the United N tions Secret ry-Gener l ................................... 5 Mess ge from the Executive Director of UNEP ............................................... 6

    Pref ce by the Executive Secret ry of the CBD ............................................... 7Executive Summary ........................................................................................................ 8Introduction ...................................................................................................... 14Biodiversity in 2010 ...................................................................................................... 16

    Species popul tions nd extinction risks ....................................................... 24Terrestri l ecosystems ............................................................................................ 32Inl nd w ters ecosystems ..................................................................................... 42M rine nd co st l ecosystems .......................................................................... 46Genetic diversity ........................................................................................................ 51

    Current pressures on biodiversity nd responses ....................................... 55 Biodiversity Futures for the 21 st Century .......................................................................... 70

    Terrestri l ecosystems ............................................................................................. 74Inl nd w ter ecosystems ....................................................................................... 78Co st l nd m rine ecosystems .......................................................................... 80

    Towards a Strategy for Reducing Biodiversity Loss ...................................................... 82 Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................... 88Photo Credits .................................................................................... .......................... 91

    List of Boxes, Tables and Figures .......................................................................................... 93

    For further information, please contact:Secretariat of the Convention onBiological DiversityWorld Trade Centre413 St. Jacques Street, Suite 800Montreal, Quebec, Canada H2Y 1N9Phone: 1(514) 288 2220Fax: 1 (514) 288 6588E-mail: [email protected]:

    Layout and design: Phoenix Design Aid A/S,ISO 9001/ ISO 14001certi ed and approved CO 2 neutral company. In-folioPrinted by Progress Press Ltd., Malta, a FSCcerti ed company. Printed on chlorine-free papermade of pulp from sustainably managed forestsand using vegetable-based inks and water-basedcoatings.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 4


  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 5

    In 2002, the worlds leaders agreed to achieve a sig-ni cant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by2010. Having reviewed all available evidence, includ-ing national reports submitted by Parties, this thirdedition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook concludesthat the target has not been met. Moreover, the Out-lookwarns, the principal pressures leading to biodi-versity loss are not just constant but are, in somecases, intensifying.

    The consequences of this collective failure, if it is notquickly corrected, will be severe for us all. Biodiver-sity underpins the functioning of the ecosystems onwhich we depend for food and fresh water, healthand recreation, and protection from natural disas-ters. Its loss also affects us culturally and spiritually.This may be more dif cult to quantify, but is none-theless integral to our well-being.

    Current trends are bringing us closer to a numberof potential tipping points that would catastrophi-cally reduce the capacity of ecosystems to providethese essential services. The poor, who tend to bemost immediately dependent on them, would suf-fer rst and most severely. At stake are the princi-pal objectives outlined in the Millennium Develop-ment Goals: food security, poverty eradication and ahealthier population.

    The conservation of biodiversity makes a criticalcontribution to moderating the scale of climatechange and reducing its negative impacts by mak-ing ecosystems -- and therefore human societies --more resilient. It is therefore essential that the chal-lenges related to biodiversity and climate changeare tackled in a coordinated manner and givenequal priority.

    In several important areas, national and interna-tional action to support biodiversity is moving in apositive direction. More land and sea areas are beingprotected, more countries are ghting the seriousthreat of invasive alien species, and more money isbeing set aside for implementing the Convention onBiological Diversity.

    However, these efforts are too often undermined bycon icting policies. To tackle the root causes of bio-diversity loss, we must give it higher priority in allareas of decision-making and in all economic sec-tors. As this third Global Biodiversity Outlook makesclear, conserving biodiversity cannot be an after-thought once other objectives are addressed it isthe foundation on which many of these objectivesare built. We need a new vision for biological diver-sity for a healthy planet and a sustainable future forhumankind.

    BaN Ki-moon

    Secret ry-Gener l United N tions

    Foreword by the United N tions Secret ry-Gener l

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 6

    A new and more intelligent compact between hu-

    manity and the Earths life-support systems isurgently needed in 2010the UNs InternationalYear of Biodiversity. This was the year when govern-ments had agreed to substantially reduce the rateof biodiversity loss: this has not happened. Insteadof re ecting, governments, business and society asa whole need to urgently renew and recommit tothis enterprise if sustainability is to be realized inthe 21st century.

    The Global Biodiversity Outlook-3 contains the so-bering facts and gures while pin pointing severalkey reasons as to why the challenge of conservingand indeed enhancing biodiversity remains un-met. One key area is economics: many economiesremain blind to the huge value of the diversity of animals, plants and other life-forms and their rolein healthy and functioning ecosystems from forestsand freshwaters to soils, oceans and even the at-mosphere.

    The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity,hosted by UNEP, is a major exercise aimed at bridg-ing understanding and driving action in this area.It will complement the GBO-3 in advance of theConvention on Biological Diversity meeting inNagoya later in the year. Already some compellingand catalyzing facts are emerging.

    Annual losses as a result of deforestation andforest degradation alone may equate to losses of US$2 trillion to over US$4.5 trillion alone. Thesecould be secured by an annual investment of justUS$45 billion: a 100 to 1 return.

    Many countries are beginning to factor naturalcapital into some areas of economic and social lifewith important returns, but this needs rapid andsustained scaling-up.

    In Venezuela, investment in the national protect-ed area system is preventing sedimentation thatotherwise could reduce farm earnings by aroundUS$3.5 million a year.

    Planting and protecting nearly 12,000 hectaresof mangroves in Vietnam costs just over US$1million but saved annual expenditures on dykemaintenance of well over US$7 million.

    Mainstreaming the economics of biodiversity andthe multi-trillion dollar services of the ecosystemswhich it supports into development, decision-mak-ing can make 2010 a success.

    Other litmus tests include bridging the gap be-tween science and policy-makers by perhaps theestablishment of an Intergovernmental Panel onBiodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Public aware-ness will also be key: de-mystifying terms such asbiodiversity and ecosystems is one challenge. Theother is to make the link between biodiversity andlivelihoods and the important role of biodiversityand natural systems in meeting other sustainabilitychallenges such as climate change, water scarcityand agriculture.

    Governments also need to rise to the challenge of Alien Invasive Species. By some estimates, theymay be costing the global economy US$1.4 tril-lion or more. In sub-Saharan Africa, the invasivewitchweed is responsible for annual maize lossesamounting to US$7 billion: overall losses to aliensmay amount to over US$12 billion in respect to Af-rica's eight principal crops.

    Last but not least, a successful conclusion to nego-tiations on an international regime on access andbene t sharing of genetic resources is needed. Thisis the missing pillar of the CBD and perhaps its -nancial mechanism: a successful conclusion wouldindeed make 2010 a year to applaud.

    The arrogance of humanity is that somehow weimagine we can get by without biodiversity or that itis somehow peripheral: the truth is we need it morethan ever on a planet of six billion heading to overnine billion people by 2050.

    achim Steiner United N tions Under-Secret ry Gener lnd Executive Director, United N tions

    Environment Progr mme

    Mess ge from the Executive Director of UNEP

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 7

    The third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook

    (GBO-3) comes at a critical period in the history of the Convention on Biological Diversity. It coincideswith the deadline agreed in Johannesburg by worldleaders to substantially reduce the rate of biodi-versity loss by 2010 as a contribution to poverty al-leviation and to the bene t of all life on Earth. Tothis end the United Nations has designated 2010 asthe International Year of Biodiversity. For the rsttime in its history, the United Nations General As-sembly, during its 65th session, will convene a highlevel meeting on biodiversity with the participationof Heads of State and Government. Further duringthe tenth meeting of the Conference of Parties tothe Convention, to be held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefec-ture, Japan, Parties will develop a new strategic planfor the coming decades including a 2050 vision and2020 mission for biodiversity as well as means forimplementation and mechanism to monitor andevaluate our progress towards our shared globalobjectives.

    More than fteen years after the Convention cameinto force, and when the international communityis actively preparing for the Rio+20 summit, this isa time of reckoning for decision-makers commit-ted to the global effort to safeguard the variety lifeon Earth and its contribution to human well-being.GBO-3 is a vital tool to inform decision-makers andthe wider public, about the state of biodiversity in2010, the implications of current trends, and our op-tions for the future.

    Drawing extensively from the approximately 120national reports submitted by Parties to the Con-vention, GBO-3 makes it clear that we have muchwork to do over the months and years to come. Nocountry has reported that it will completely meetthe 2010 target, and a few Parties have unequivo-cally stated they will not meet it. Moreover, mostParties have reported that at least one, but in mostcases several species and habitats within their na-tional territories, were in a state of decline.

    Most Parties have con rmed that ve main pres-sures continue to affect biodiversity within their bor-ders: habitat loss, the unsustainable use and overex-ploitation of resources, climate change, invasive alienspecies, and pollution. Many positive steps have beentaken by the Parties to help address these issues.These include the development of new biodiversity-related legislation; the establishment of mechanismsfor environmental impact assessment; participationin transboundary management or cooperation initi-atives; and fostering community involvement in themanagement of biological resources.

    At the same time, the fourth national reports giveus a clear picture of the obstacles that need to beovercome to better implement the objectives of theConvention. These include limited capacity in bothdeveloped and developing nations, including nan-cial, human and technical issues; the absence of, ordif culties in, accessing scienti c information; lim-ited awareness of biodiversity issues amongst thegeneral public and decision makers; limited biodi-versity mainstreaming; fragmented decision mak-ing and limited communication between differentministries or sectors; and the absence of economicvaluation of biodiversity.

    As this Outlook makes clear, it is essential that theseobstacles are removed if we are to make progress intackling biodiversity loss. It is increasingly urgentthat we make such progress, as the consequencesof current trends have implications that jeopard-ize many of the objectives shared by the wider UNfamily to change the world for the better. We havean opportunity, equipped with the knowledge andanalysis contained in this document and its under-lying sources, to move biodiversity into the main-stream of decision-making. Let us, individually andcollectively, seize this opportunity, for the sake of current and future generations as indeed biodiver-sity is life, biodiversity is our life.

    ahmed Djoghl f assist nt Secret ry-Gener lnd Executive Secret ry

    Convention on Biologic l Diversity

    Pref ce by the Executive Secret ry of the CBD

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 8

    The Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi ) is a critically endangered species endemic to the island o Bali, Indonesia. It su ereda drastic decline in population and range during the 20th century, due mainly to illegal poaching. In 1990 only around 15birds were thought to survive in the wild. Conservation e orts coupled with the release o some captive-bred birds broughtthe estimated population to more than 100 individuals by 2008, but numbers continue to fuctuate rom year to year.


  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 9

    The target agreed by the worlds Govern-ments in 2002, to achieve by 2010 a sig-ni icant reduction of the current rate of bi-odiversity loss at the global, regional and

    national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the bene it of all life onEarth, has not been met.

    There are multiple indications of continuing declinein biodiversity in all three of its main components genes, species and ecosystems including:

    Species which have been assessed for extinc-tion risk are on average moving closer to ex-tinction. Amphibians face the greatest risk andcoral species are deteriorating most rapidly instatus. Nearly a quarter of plant species are es-timated to be threatened with extinction.

    The abundance of vertebrate species, based onassessed populations, fell by nearly a third onaverage between 1970 and 2006, and continuesto fall globally, with especially severe declinesin the tropics and among freshwater species.

    Natural habitats in most parts of the worldcontinue to decline in extent and integrity,although there has been signi cant progressin slowing the rate of loss for tropical forestsand mangroves, in some regions. Freshwaterwetlands, sea ice habitats, salt marshes, coralreefs, seagrass beds and shell sh reefs are allshowing serious declines.

    Extensive fragmentation and degradation of forests, rivers and other ecosystems have alsoled to loss of biodiversity and ecosystem serv-ices.

    Crop and livestock genetic diversity continuesto decline in agricultural systems.

    The ve principal pressures directly drivingbiodiversity loss (habitat change, overexploita-tion, pollution, invasive alien species and cli-mate change) are either constant or increasingin intensity.

    The ecological footprint of humanity exceedsthe biological capacity of the Earth by a widermargin than at the time the 2010 target wasagreed.

    The loss of biodiversity is an issue of pro-found concern for its own sake. Biodiversityalso underpins the functioning of ecosystemswhich provide a wide range of services to hu-man societies. Its continued loss, therefore,

    has major implications for current and futurehuman well-being. The provision of food, bre,medicines and fresh water, pollination of crops,

    ltration of pollutants, and protection from

    natural disasters are among those ecosystemservices potentially threatened by declines andchanges in biodiversity. Cultural services suchas spiritual and religious values, opportunitiesfor knowledge and education, as well as recrea-tional and aesthetic values, are also declining.

    The existence of the 2010 biodiversity target has helped to stimulate important action tosafeguard biodiversity, such as creating moreprotected areas (both on land and in coastal wa-ters), the conservation of particular species, andinitiatives to tackle some of the direct causes of ecosystem damage, such as pollution and al-ien species invasions. Some 170 countries nowhave national biodiversity strategies and ac-tion plans. At the international level, nancialresources have been mobilized and progresshas been made in developing mechanisms forresearch, monitoring and scienti c assessmentof biodiversity.

    Many actions in support of biodiversity havehad signi cant and measurable results inparticular areas and amongst targeted spe-cies and ecosystems. This suggests that withadequate resources and political will, thetools exist for loss of biodiversity to be re-duced at wider scales. For example, recentgovernment policies to curb deforestation havebeen followed by declining rates of forest lossin some tropical countries. Measures to controlalien invasive species have helped a numberof species to move to a lower extinction riskcategory. It has been estimated that at least 31bird species (out of 9,800) would have becomeextinct in the past century, in the absence of conservation measures.

    However, action to implement the Conventionon Biological Diversity has not been takenon a suf cient scale to address the pressureson biodiversity in most places. There hasbeen insuf cient integration of biodiversityissues into broader policies, strategies andprogrammes, and the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss have not been addressedsigni cantly. Actions to promote the conserva-tion and sustainable use of biodiversity receivea tiny fraction of funding compared to activi-ties aimed at promoting infrastructure and in-dustrial developments. Moreover, biodiversityconsiderations are often ignored when suchdevelopments are designed, and opportunities

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 10

    to plan in ways that minimize unnecessarynegative impacts on biodiversity are missed.Actions to address the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss, including demographic, eco-

    nomic, technological, socio-political and cul-tural pressures, in meaningful ways, have alsobeen limited.

    Most future scenarios project continuinghigh levels of extinctions and loss of habitatsthroughout this century, with associated de-cline of some ecosystem services important tohuman well-being.

    For example:

    Tropical forests would continue to be clearedin favour of crops and pastures, and poten-tially for biofuel production.

    Climate change, the introduction of invasivealien species, pollution and dam constructionwould put further pressure on freshwater bi-odiversity and the services it underpins.

    Over shing would continue to damage ma-rine ecosystems and cause the collapse of shpopulations, leading to the failure of sheries.

    Changes in the abundance and distributionof species may have serious consequencesfor human societies. The geographical distri-bution of species and vegetation types is pro-

    jected to shift radically due to climate change,with ranges moving from hundreds to thou-sands of kilometres towards the poles by theend of the 21st century. Migration of marinespecies to cooler waters could make tropicaloceans less diverse, while both boreal and tem-perate forests face widespread dieback at thesouthern end of their existing ranges, with im-

    pacts on sheries, wood harvests, recreation op-portunities and other services.

    There is a high risk of dramatic biodiversity loss

    and accompanying degradation of a broad rangeof ecosystem services if ecosystems are pushedbeyond certain thresholds or tipping points. Thepoor would face the earliest and most severe im-pacts of such changes, but ultimately all socie-ties and communities would suffer.

    Examples include:

    The Amazon forest, due to the interaction of deforestation, re and climate change, couldundergo a widespread dieback, with partsof the forest moving into a self-perpetuat-ing cycle of more frequent res and intensedroughts leading to a shift to savanna-likevegetation. While there are large uncertaintiesassociated with these scenarios, it is knownthat such dieback becomes much more likelyto occur if deforestation exceeds 20 30% (itis currently above 17% in the Brazilian Ama-zon). It would lead to regional rainfall reduc-tions, compromising agricultural production.There would also be global impacts throughincreased carbon emissions, and massive lossof biodiversity.

    The build-up of phosphates and nitrates fromagricultural fertilizers and sewage ef uentcan shift freshwater lakes and other inlandwater ecosystems into a long-term, algae-dominated (eutrophic) state. This could leadto declining sh availability with implicationsfor food security in many developing coun-tries. There will also be loss of recreation op-portunities and tourism income, and in somecases health risks for people and livestockfrom toxic algal blooms. Similar, nitrogenin-

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 11

    duced eutrophication phenomena in coastalenvironments lead to more oxygen-starveddead zones, with major economic losses re-sulting from reduced productivity of sheries

    and decreased tourism revenues. The combined impacts of ocean acidi cation,

    warmer sea temperatures and other human-induced stresses make tropical coral reef eco-systems vulnerable to collapse. More acidicwater brought about by higher carbon di-oxide concentrations in the atmosphere de-creases the availability of the carbonate ionsrequired to build coral skeletons. Together withthe bleaching impact of warmer water, elevat-ed nutrient levels from pollution, over shing,sediment deposition arising from inland defor-estation, and other pressures, reefs worldwideincreasingly become algae-dominated withcatastrophic loss of biodiversity and ecosystemfunctioning, threatening the livelihoods andfood security of hundreds of millions of people.

    There are greater opportunities than previ-ously recognized to address the biodiversitycrisis while contributing to other social objec-tives. For example, analyses conducted for thisOutlook identi ed scenarios in which climatechange is mitigated while maintaining and evenexpanding the current extent of forests andother natural ecosystems (avoiding additionalhabitat loss from the widespread deployment of biofuels). Other opportunities include rewild-ing abandoned farmland in some regions, andthe restoration of river basins and other wet-land ecosystems to enhance water supply, oodcontrol and the removal of pollutants.

    Well-targeted policies focusing on critical ar-eas, species and ecosystem services are es-sential to avoid the most dangerous impactson people and societies. Preventing furtherhuman-induced biodiversity loss for the near-term future will be extremely challenging, but biodiversity loss may be halted and in someaspects reversed in the longer term, if urgent,concerted and effective action is initiated nowin support of an agreed long-term vision.Such action to conserve biodiversity and use itscomponents sustainably will reap rich rewards -through better health, greater food security, lesspoverty and a greater capacity to cope with, andadapt to, environmental change.

    Placing greater priority on biodiversity is centralto the success of development and poverty-alle-

    viation measures. It is clear that continuing with

    business as usual will jeopardize the future of all human societies, and none more so than thepoorest who depend directly on biodiversity for aparticularly high proportion of their basic needs.

    The loss of biodiversity is frequently linked to theloss of cultural diversity, and has an especially highnegative impact on indigenous communities.

    The linked challenges of biodiversity loss andclimate change must be addressed by policy-makers with equal priority and in close co-ordi-nation, if the most severe impacts of each are tobe avoided. Reducing the further loss of carbon-storing ecosystems such as tropical forests, saltmarshes and peatlands will be a crucial step inlimiting the build-up of greenhouse gases in theatmosphere. At the same time, reducing otherpressures on ecosystems can increase their re-silience, make them less vulnerable to those im-pacts of climate change which are already una-voidable, and allow them to continue to provideservices to support peoples livelihoods and helpthem adapt to climate change.

    Better protection of biodiversity should be seenas a prudent and cost-effective investment inrisk-avoidance for the global community. Theconsequences of abrupt ecosystem changes ona large scale affect human security to such anextent, that it is rational to minimize the risk of triggering them - even if we are not clear aboutthe precise probability that they will occur. Eco-system degradation, and the consequent lossof ecosystem services, has been identi ed asone of the main sources of disaster risk. Invest-ment in resilient and diverse ecosystems, ableto withstand the multiple pressures they aresubjected to, may be the best-value insurancepolicy yet devised.

    Scienti c uncertainty surrounding the preciseconnections between biodiversity and humanwell-being, and the functioning of ecosystems,should not be used as an excuse for inaction.No one can predict with accuracy how close weare to ecosystem tipping points, and how muchadditional pressure might bring them about.What is known from past examples, however, isthat once an ecosystem shifts to another state,it can be dif cult or impossible to return it tothe former conditions on which economies andpatterns of settlement have been built for gen-erations.

    Effective action to address biodiversity loss de-pends on addressing the underlying causes orindirect drivers of that decline.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 12

    This will mean:

    Much greater ef ciency in the use of land, en-ergy, fresh water and materials to meet grow-

    ing demand. Use of market incentives, and avoidance of

    perverse subsidies to minimize unsustain-able resource use and wasteful consumption.

    Strategic planning in the use of land, inlandwaters and marine resources to reconciledevelopment with conservation of biodiver-sity and the maintenance of multiple ecosys-tem services. While some actions may entailmoderate costs or tradeoffs, the gains for bio-diversity can be large in comparison.

    Ensuring that the bene ts arising from useof and access to genetic resources and as-sociated traditional knowledge, for examplethrough the development of drugs and cos-metics, are equitably shared with the coun-tries and cultures from which they are ob-tained.

    Communication, education and awareness-raising to ensure that as far as possible, eve-ryone understands the value of biodiversityand what steps they can take to protect it,including through changes in personal con-sumption and behaviour.

    The real bene ts of biodiversity, and the costsof its loss, need to be re ected within econom-ic systems and markets. Perverse subsidies andthe lack of economic value attached to the hugebene ts provided by ecosystems have contrib-uted to the loss of biodiversity. Through regu-

    lation and other measures, markets can andmust be harnessed to create incentives to safe-guard and strengthen, rather than to deplete,our natural infrastructure. The re-structuring

    of economies and nancial systems followingthe global recession provides an opportunity forsuch changes to be made. Early action will beboth more effective and less costly than inac-tion or delayed action.

    Urgent action is needed to reduce the direct drivers of biodiversity loss. The application of best practices in agriculture, sustainable forestmanagement and sustainable sheries shouldbecome standard practice, and approachesaimed at optimizing multiple ecosystem serv-ices instead of maximizing a single one shouldbe promoted. In many cases, multiple driversare combining to cause biodiversity loss anddegradation of ecosystems. Sometimes, it maybe more effective to concentrate urgent actionon reducing those drivers most responsive topolicy changes. This will reduce the pressureson biodiversity and protect its value for humansocieties in the short to medium-term, whilethe more intractable drivers are addressed overa longer time-scale. For example the resilienceof coral reefs and their ability to withstandand adapt to coral bleaching and ocean acidi -cation can be enhanced by reducing over sh-ing, land-based pollution and physical damage.

    Direct action to conserve biodiversity must be continued, targeting vulnerable as wellas culturally-valued species and ecosystems,combined with steps to safeguard key ecosys-tem services, particularly those of importanceto the poor. Activities could focus on the con-servation of species threatened with extinction,

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 13

    those harvested for commercial purposes, orspecies of cultural signi cance. They shouldalso ensure the protection of functional eco-logical groups that is, groups of species that

    collectively perform particular, essential roleswithin ecosystems, such as pollination, controlof herbivore numbers by top predators, cyclingof nutrients and soil formation.

    Increasingly, restoration of terrestrial, inlandwater and marine ecosystems will be neededto re-establish ecosystem functioning and theprovision of valuable services. Economic analy-sis shows that ecosystem restoration can givegood economic rates of return. However thebiodiversity and associated services of restoredecosystems usually remain below the levels of natural ecosystems. This reinforces the argu-ment that, where possible, avoiding degradationthrough conservation is preferable (and evenmore cost-effective) than restoration after theevent.

    Better decisions for biodiversity must be madeat all levels and in all sectors, in particularthe major economic sectors, and government has a key enabling role to play. National pro-grammes or legislation can be crucial in creat-ing a favourable environment to support effec-tive bottom-up initiatives led by communities,local authorities, or businesses. This also in-cludes empowering indigenous peoples and lo-cal communities to take responsibility for bio-diversity management and decision-making;and developing systems to ensure that the ben-e ts arising from access to genetic resourcesare equitably shared.

    We can no longer see the continued loss of and changes to biodiversity as an issue sepa-rate from the core concerns of society: to tacklepoverty, to improve the health, prosperity and

    security of our populations, and to deal withclimate change. Each of those objectives is un-dermined by current trends in the state of ourecosystems, and each will be greatly strength-ened if we correctly value the role of biodiver-sity in supporting the shared priorities of theinternational community. Achieving this willinvolve placing biodiversity in the mainstreamof decision-making in government, the privatesector, and other institutions from the local tointernational scales.

    The action taken over the next decade or two,and the direction charted under the Conven-tion on Biological Diversity, will determinewhether the relatively stable environmentalconditions on which human civilization hasdepended for the past 10,000 years will con-tinue beyond this century. If we fail to use thisopportunity, many ecosystems on the planet will move into new, unprecedented states inwhich the capacity to provide for the needs of present and future generations is highly un-certain.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 14


  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 15

    This Outlook presents some st rk choices forhum n societies. On one h nd it w rns th tthe diversity of living things on the pl netcontinues to be eroded s result of hum n

    ctivities. The pressures driving the loss ofbiodiversity show few signs of e sing, nd insome c ses re esc l ting. The consequencesof current trends re much worse th n pre-viously thought, nd pl ce in doubt the con-tinued provision of vit l ecosystem services.The poor st nd to suffer disproportion tely from potenti lly c t strophic ch nges to eco-systems in coming dec des, but ultim tely llsocieties st nd to lose.

    On the other hand, the Outlook offers a mes-sage of hope. The options for addressing the cri-sis are wider than was apparent in earlier stud-ies. Determined action to conserve biodiversityand use it sustainably will reap rich rewards.It will bene t people in many ways - throughbetter health, greater food security and lesspoverty. It will safeguard the variety of nature,an objective justi ed in its own right accordingto a range of belief systems and moral codes.It will help to slow climate change by enablingecosystems to absorb and store more carbon;and it will help people adapt to climate changeby adding resilience to ecosystems and makingthem less vulnerable.

    Taking actions to ensure the maintenance andrestoration of well-functioning ecosystems, un-derpinned by biodiversity and providing naturalinfrastructure for human societies, can provide

    economic gains worth trillions of dollars a year.The latest science suggests ever more stronglythat better management, conservation and sus-tainable use of biodiversity is a prudent andcost-effective investment in social and economicsecurity, and in risk reduction for the global com-munity.

    This Outlook shows that efforts to date have notbeen suf cient to reduce signi cantly the rate of biodiversity loss and analyses why; it assessesthe potential for long-lasting or irreversible eco-system changes to result from current trendsand practices; and it concludes that concertedand targeted responses, with action applied atappropriate levels to address both direct pres-sures on biodiversity and their underlying caus-es, can in the long term stop or even reverse thecontinued decline in the variety of life on Earth.

    The action taken over the next two decades will determine whether the relatively stable environ-mental conditions on which human civilization hasdepended for the past 10,000 years will continuebeyond this century. If we fail to use this opportu-nity, many ecosystems on the planet will move into

    new, unprecedented states in which the capacity to provide for the needs of present and future genera-tions is highly uncertain.

    BOX 1 Biodiversity, the CBD and the 2010 target

    The word biodiversity, a contraction o the synonymous phrase biological diversity, is de ned by the Convention onBiological Diversity (CBD) as the variability among living organisms rom all sources including, inter alia , terrestrial, ma-rine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes o which they are part; this includes diversity withinspecies, between species and o ecosystems. This is the de nition used throughout this document.

    The CBD is one o the three Rio Conventions, emerging rom the UN Con erence on Environment and Development,also known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It came into orce at the end o 1993, with the ollow-ing objectives:

    The conservation o biological diversity, the sustainable use o its components and the air and equitable sharing o thebene ts arising out o the utilization o genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and byappropriate trans er o relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies,and by appropriate unding.

    There are currently 193 Parties to the Convention (192 countries and the European Union). In April 2002, the Partiesto the Convention committed themselves to achieve by 2010 a signi cant reduction o the current rate o biodiversityloss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the bene t o all li e on Earth.

    This target was subsequently endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (the Rio + 10 summit) inJohannesburg, 2002, and by the United Nations General Assembly. It was also incorporated as a new target under oneo the Millennium Development Goals Ensure Environmental Sustainability. The 2010 biodiversity target is there ore acommitment rom all governments, including those not party to the CBD.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 16

    Biodiversity in 2010

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 17

    The 2010 biodiversity t rget h s not been

    met t the glob l level. None of the twenty-one sub-t rgets ccomp nying the over llt rget of signi ic ntly reducing the r te of bi-odiversity loss by 2010 c n be s id de initive-ly to h ve been chieved glob lly, lthoughsome h ve been p rti lly or loc lly chieved.Despite n incre se in conserv tion efforts,the st te of biodiversity continues to decline,

    ccording to most indic tors, l rgely bec usethe pressures on biodiversity continue to in-cre se. There is no indic tion of signi ic ntreduction in the r te of decline in biodiversi-ty, nor of signi ic nt reduction in pressuresupon it. However, neg tive trends h ve beenslowed or reversed in some ecosystems. There

    re sever l indic tions th t responses to bio-diversity loss re incre sing nd improving,

    lthough not yet on sc le suf icient to ffectover ll neg tive trends in the st te of biodi-versity or the pressures upon it.

    When governments agreed to the 2010 targetfor signi cantly reducing the rate of biodiversityloss [See Box 1] , a number of tools were put inplace within the Convention on Biological Di-versity and other conventions to help focus ac-tion towards achieving the target, to monitorprogress towards it, and eventually to determinewhether it had in fact been achieved. Twenty-one sub-targets were de ned, to be reached by2010 towards eleven principal goals related tobiodiversity.

    While none of the sub-targets can be said de-

    nitively to have been met, some have beenachieved partially or at regional or nationalscales [See Table 1] . In fact, the 2010 biodiversitytarget has inspired action at many levels. Some170 countries now have national biodiversitystrategies and action plans [See Box 2 and Fig-ure 1] . Protected areas have been expanded innumber and extent, on both land and in coastalwaters. Environmental impact assessment ismore widely applied with most countries report-ing that they have some measures in place forits use.

    Most countries are also undertaking activitiesrelated to communication, education and publicawareness as well biodiversity monitoring, re-search and the development of databases. At theinternational level, nancial resources have beenmobilized and progress has been made in devel-oping mechanisms for research, monitoring andscienti c assessment of biodiversity.


    The Torngat MountainsNational Park o Canada,which is co-managed withthe Labrador and Nunavik Inuit, is the 42 nd nationalpark to be established inthe country. The park islocated at the northerntip o Labrador and coversapproximately 9,700square kilometres o arctic ecosystems.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 18

    T Bl 1 Status of agreed subsidiary targets to 2010 biodiversity target

    Goal 1. Promote the conservation of the biological diversity of ecosystems, habitats and biomes

    Not achieved globally, but more than half of terrestrial eco-regions meet the 10% target. However, manage-ment effectiveness is low for some protected areas. Marine and inland water systems lack protection, thoughthis is increasing.

    1.1: At least 10% of each ofthe world's ecological regionseffectively conserved.

    Goal 3. Promote the conservation of genetic diversity

    Not achieved globally. Information on genetic diversity is fragmentary. Progress has been made towardsconserving genetic diversity of crops through ex situ actions, however agricultural systems continue to besimplied. While the genetic diversity of wild species is more difcult to ascertain, the overall decline of biodiver-sity presented in this report strongly suggests that genetic diversity is not being maintained. Genetic resourcesin situ and traditional knowledge are protected through some projects, but continue to decline overall.

    3.1: Genetic diversity of crops, livestock,and of harvested species of trees, sh andwildlife and other valuable speciesconserved, and associated indigenous andlocal knowledge maintained.

    Goal 4. Promote sustainable use and consumption

    Not achieved globally but progress for some components of biodiversity such as forests and some sheries.Globally sustainable use does not account for a large share of total products and production areas.

    4.1: Biodiversity-based productsderived from sources that aresustainably managed, and productionareas managed consistent with theconservation of biodiversity.

    Goal 5. Pressures from habitat loss, land use change and degradation, and unsustainable water use, reduced

    Not achieved globally as many biodiversity-sensitive regions continue to decline, but some progress in reducingthe rate of loss in some areas.

    5.1: Rate of loss anddegradation of naturalhabitats decreased.

    Goal 6. Control threats from invasive alien species

    Not achieved globally as the introduction of invasive alien species continues to increase as a result of greatertransport, trade, and tourism. However, national action related to global agreements on plant protection andballast water promises to reduce the risk of new invasions in some countries and ecosystems.

    6.1: Pathways for majorpotential alien invasivespecies controlled.

    Not achieved globally, though some management plans are in place. Most countries lack effective managementprogrammes.

    6.2: Management plans in place formajor alien species that threatenecosystems, habitats or species.

    Not achieved globally. Unsustainable consumption has increased and continues to be a major cause of biodiver-sity loss.

    4.2: Unsustainable consumption, ofbiological resources, or that impactsupon biodiversity, reduced.

    Not achieved globally. Wild ora and fauna continue to decline as a result of international trade, but successesachieved particularly through implementation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Speciesof Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

    4.3: No species of wild oraor fauna endangered byinternational trade.

    Not achieved globally, but an increasing proportion of the sites of importance for conserving birds, and thoseholding the last remaining populations of threatened species, are being protected.

    1.2: Areas of particularimportance to biodiversityprotected.

    Goal 2. Promote the conservation of species diversity

    Not achieved globally as many species continue to decline in abundance and distribution. However, some effortshave resulted in the recovery of targeted species.

    2.1: Restore, maintain, or reduce thedecline of populations of species ofselected taxonomic groups.

    Not achieved globally, as species are on average at increasing risk of extinction. However some species havemoved to lower risk categories as a result of actions taken.

    2.2: Status ofthreatened species


  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 19

    Goal 7. Address challenges to biodiversity from climate change, and pollution

    Not achieved globally, as limited action has been taken to reduce other pressures and thus enhance theresilience of biodiversity in the face of climate change. However, the establishment of biodiversitycorridors in some regions may help species to migrate and adapt to new climatic conditions.

    7.1: Maintain and enhance resilienceof the components of biodiversity toadapt to climate change.

    Not achieved globally but mixed results. Measures to reduce the impacts of pollution on biodiversity havebeen taken, resulting in the recovery of some previously heavily degraded ecosystems. However, manypreviously pristine areas are being degraded. Nitrogen deposition continues to be major threat tobiodiversity in many regions.

    7.2: Reduce pollution and itsimpacts on biodiversity.

    Goal 8. Maintain capacity of ecosystems to deliver goods and services and support livelihoods

    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.

    8.1: Capacity of ecosystems todeliver goods and servicesmaintained.

    Goal 10. Ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benets arising out of the use of genetic resources

    Not achieved globally but increasing number of material transfer agreements have been developed underthe Treaty.

    10.1: All transfers of genetic resources are inline with the Convention on BiologicalDiversity, the International Treaty on PlantGenetic Resources for Food and Agricultureand other applicable agreements.

    Goal 11. Parties have improved nancial, human, scientic, technical and technological capacity to implement the Convention

    Not achieved globally. There are few examples of the benet arising from the commercial and otherutilization of genetic resources being shared with the countries providing such resources. This can be partiallyattributed to the fact that the Access and Benet Sharing Regime was being developed from 2002, when thebiodiversity target was adopted, until 2010, the deadline set by the CBD for nal agreement on this issue.

    10.2: Benets arising from the commercialand other utilization of genetic resourcesshared with the countries providing suchresources.

    Not achieved globally. While resources continue to be lacking there have been modest increases in ofcialdevelopment assistance related to biodiversity.

    11.1: New and additional nancial resourcesare transferred to developing country Parties,to allow for the effective implementation oftheir commitments under the Convention, inaccordance with Article 20.

    Not achieved globally. From country reports it is clear that some developing countries have mechanismsand programmes in place for technology transfer. However, it is also clear that the limited access totechnology is an obstacle to implementation of the Convention and reaching the 2010 biodiversity targetin many developing countries.

    11.2: Technology is transferred todeveloping country Parties, to allow for theeffective implementation of their commit-ments under the Convention, in accordancewith its Article 20, paragraph 4.

    Not achieved globally, as many of the biological resources which sustain livelihoods, such as sh

    mammals, birds, amphibians and medicinal plants, are in decline, with the worlds poor being particularlyaffected.

    8.2: Biological resources that support

    sustainable livelihoods, local food securityand health care, especially of poor people.

    Goal 9. Maintain socio-cultural diversity of indigenous and local communities

    Not achieved globally, as long-term declines in traditional knowledge and rights continue, despite theactions taken to protect them in some areas.

    9.1: Protect traditional knowledge,innovations and practices.

    Not achieved globally but an increasing number of co-management systems and community-basedprotected areas have been established, with the greater protection of the rights of indigenous and localcommunities.

    9.2: Protect the rights of indigenous andlocal communities over their traditionalknowledge, innovations and practices,including their rights to benet sharing.

    Not achieved globally Not achieved globallybut some progressNot achieved globallybut signicant progress

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Over 170 countries (87% o the Parties to the Convention) have developed national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs). A urther 14Parties 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 o governments, in other words, have been through the process o codi ying their approach to protecting the biodiversitywithin their own territory. In many countries, the preparation o strategies has stimulated the development o additional laws and programmes, andspurred action on a broad range o issues, including: the eradication or control o alien invasive species; using biodiversity sustainably; the protectiono traditional knowledge and rules to ensure local communities share bene ts rom bio-prospecting which might result in patents or sales o newdrugs, oods or cosmetics; the sa e use o biotechnology; and maintaining the diversity o plants and animals used in agriculture.

    Relatively ew Parties have ully integrated the 2010 biodiversity target into their national strategies. Moreover, ew countries are using NBSAPs ase ective tools or integrating biodiversity into broader national strategies, policies and planning processes. More than 80% o Parties, in their latestnational reports to the CBD, concede that limited biodiversity mainstreaming, ragmented decision making and/or limited communication amonggovernment ministries or sectors is a challenge to meeting the goals o the Convention.

    However, recently developed and updated national biodiversity strategies tend to be more strategic than the rst generation o NBSAPs, they havea stronger emphasis on mainstreaming, and give greater recognition to broader national development objectives.

    NBSAPs should catalyze a number o strategic actions in countries, including:

    Mainstreaming biodiversity will be best protected i it is a signi cant actor in decisions made across a wide range o sectors, departments andeconomic activities, systems or planning the use o land, reshwater and sea areas (spatial planning), and policies to reduce poverty and adaptto climate change.

    Communication and involvement strategies will only be e ective i they genuinely involve the people closest to the resources they are designedto protect. O ten the best solutions will be driven by local demand, using legal and institutional rameworks set at a higher level.

    Tools or implementation particular approaches, such as making integrated decisions based on maintaining and improving the overall healtho ecosystems, or introducing policies on payments or the use o hitherto ree ecosystem services, can aid in the protection o biodiversity.

    Knowledge or good decisions to be made, the best available in ormation about the biodiversity o a country or region must be accessible tothe right people at the right time. The Clearing-House Mechanism, a system o compiling, co-ordinating and providing access to relevant andup-to-date knowledge, is a key tool provided by the CBD ramework.

    Monitoring assessing and communicating progress towards the objectives and targets set by a biodiversity strategy is an important way toimprove its e ectiveness and visibility.

    Financing and capacity co-ordinating action to support biodiversity will only be meaning ul i there is money to do it and there are people whoknow how to do it.

    BOX 2 National action on biodiversity

    1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010












    Number of countries

    The number o countries party to the Conven-tion on Biological Diversity has grown over time,and it currently has near universal membership.O the 193 Parties to the Convention 170 havedeveloped National Biodiversity Strategies and

    Action Plans (NBSAPs) and o these, more than35 Parties have revised their NBSAP.Source: Secretariat o the Convention on Biological Diversity

    FIGUR 1 Parties to Convention onBiological Diversity

    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 20

    N BSA Ps N BS AP r ev is io ns








  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 21

    There is no single measurement that captures

    the current status or trends in global biodiversity.Therefore a range of indicators was developedfor the Convention on Biological Diversity, to pro-vide scienti cally rigorous assessments of trendsin the state of the various components of biodi-versity (genes, populations, species, ecosystems);the pressures being imposed upon it; and theresponses being adopted to address biodiversityloss. Ten of the fteen headline indicators showtrends unfavourable for biodiversity [See Table2]. Yet, for certain indicators the amount andcoverage of data is not suf cient to make state-ments with con dence. The assessment of statusand trends of biodiversity on the following pagestherefore relies on multiple lines of evidence,including scienti c literature and recent assess-ments, as well as national reports from the Par-ties to the Convention. Not a single governmentin the latest reports submitted to the CBD claimsthat the 2010 biodiversity target has been com-pletely met at the national level. Around one in

    ve governments state explicitly that they havemissed the target.

    Although the evidence does not show a signi -

    cant decline in the rate of biodiversity loss, someinterventions have had a measurable, positiveimpact by making the decline less severe than itwould otherwise have been. For example, it is es-timated that 31 bird species, out of a total of some9,800, would have become extinct in the absenceof conservation actions.

    Missing the 2010 target has serious implicationsfor human societies. Biodiversity underpins awide range of services that support economies,food production systems and secure living condi-tions [See Box 3] . The loss of biodiversity (at thegenetic, species and ecosystem levels) also affectshuman health in many ways.

    Projections of the impacts of continued biodi-versity loss, some associated costs and how theymight be avoided, are outlined in this synthesis.First, the current status and trends of biodiversity,the pressures upon it and responses to its loss aredescribed in more detail.

    Coastal ecosystems, aswell as supporting a widerange o species, o tenprovide vital barriers that

    protect human communi-ties rom the ull orceo onshore waves andstorms.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 22


    Most species with limited population size and distribution are being further reduced, while some commonand invasive species become more common. (but limited number of taxa assessed)

    Status and trends of the components of biological d iversity

    Most habitats in most parts of the world are declining in extent, although forest area expands in someregions, and the loss of mangroves has slowed signicantly, except in Asia.

    Trends in extent of selectedbiomes, ecosystems, andhabitats

    There has been a signicant increase in coverage of protected areas, both terrestrial and marine, over the pastdecade. However, many ecological regions, particularly in marine ecosystems, remain underprotected, andthe management effectiveness of protected areas remains variable.

    Coverage of protected areas

    Ecosystem integrity and ecosystem goods and services

    Despite intense pressure the Marine Trophic Index has shown a modest increase globally since 1970. Howeverthere 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 shing eetsexpanding their areas of activity, thus encountering sh stocks in which larger predators have not yet beenremoved in large numbers.


    Threats to biodiversity

    Human activity has doubled the rate of creation of reactive nitrogen on the planets surface. Pressure on biodiver-sity from nutrient pollution continues to increase, although some measures to use nutrients more efciently, toreduce their release into water and the atmosphere, are beginning to show positive effects.

    Nitrogen deposition

    Status of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices

    A large number of minority languages are believed in danger of disappearing, and linguistic diversity is verylikely declining.(although case studies with a high degree of certainty are available)

    Status and trends of linguisticdiversity and numbers of speakersof indigenous languages

    Status of access and benet sharing

    The need and possible options for additional indicators are being examined by the Ad Hoc Open-endedWorking Group on Access and Benet-sharing.

    Indicator of access andbenet-sharing to bedeveloped

    Status of resources transfers

    The volume of ODA for biodiversity has increased over the past few years.Ofcial development assistance(ODA) provided in support of theConvention

    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)

    Trends in invasivealien species

    Sustainable use

    There are considerable efforts under way to increase the extent of areas of land under sustainable manage-ment. Regional efforts on sustainable forest management are expected to contribute to this. Traditionalagricultural practices are being maintained and revitalized as the demand for ethical and healthy productsincreases. However, these are still relatively small niches and major efforts are required to substantiallyincrease the areas under sustainable management.

    Area of forest, agricultural andaquaculture ecosystems undersustainable management

    The ecological footprint of humanity is increasing. Efforts at increasing resource efciency are more thancompensated by increased consumption by a growing and more prosperous human population.

    Ecological footprint and relatedconcepts

    Most terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are becoming increasingly fragmented, despite an increasedrecognition of the value of corridors and connections, especially in climate change adaptation.

    Connectivity fragmentationof ecosystems

    Most parts of the world are likely to be suffering from declines in water quality, although quality in someareas has improved through control of point-source pollution.

    Water quality of aquaticecosystems

    Trends in abundance anddistribution of selectedspecies

    The risk of extinction increases for many threatened species, although some species recovery programmeshave been very successful. (for those species assessed)

    Change in status ofthreatened species

    It is likely that the genetic variety of cultivated species is declining, but the extent of such decline and itsoverall impacts are not well understood. (although many case studies with a high degree of certainty are available)

    Trends in genetic diversity of domesticatedanimals, cultivated plants, and sh speciesof major socio-economic importance

    T Bl 2 Trends shown by agreed indicators of progress towards the 2010 biodiversity target

    Negative changes Positive changes ? Insufcient information to reacha denitive conclusion.No clear global trend. Positive and negativechanges are occurring depending on the regionor biome considered

    Low Medium HighDegree of certainty:

    l l l


    l l ll l l

    ll l l l


    I l lll l l l

    l l l l ll


    l lll l l


    l l l ll l l

    l l l

    l l


    l ll lll l l

    l l ll l l

    l l l l lll l l ll lll

    l ll

    l ll ll l

    l l l l l l ll ll


    I l l l l lll lll l l

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 23

    BOX 3 Why biodiversity matters

    Biodiversity is the variation that exists not just between the species o plants, animals, micro-organisms and other orms o li e on the planet butalso within species, in the orm o genetic diversity, and at the level o ecosystems in which species interact with one another and with the physicalenvironment.

    This diversity is o vital importance to people, because it underpins a wide range o ecosystem services on which human societies have alwaysdepended, although their importance has o ten been greatly undervalued or ignored. When elements o biodiversity are lost, ecosystems becomeless resilient and their services threatened. More homogeneous, less varied landscapes or aquatic environments are o ten more vulnerable tosudden external pressures such as disease and climatic extremes.

    Ecosystem services can be divided into our categories:

    provisioning services, or the supply o goods o directbene t to people, and o ten with a clear monetary value,such as timber rom orests, medicinal plants, and sh

    rom the oceans, rivers and lakes.

    cultural services , not providing direct material bene ts,but contributing to wider needs and desires o society, andthere ore to peoples willingness to pay or conservation.

    They include the spiritual value attached to particular eco-systems such as sacred groves, and the aesthetic beauty o landscapes or coastal ormations that attract tourists.

    regulating services , the range o vital unctions carried outby ecosystems which are rarely given a monetary value inconventional markets. They include regulation o climatethrough the storing o carbon and control o local rain all, theremoval o pollutants by ltering the air and water, and protec-tion rom disasters such as landslides and coastal storms.

    supporting services , not o direct bene t to people butessential to the unctioning o ecosystems and there oreindirectly responsible or all other services. Examples arethe ormation o soils and the processes o plant growth.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 24

    Species popul tions nd extinction risks

    The population of wild vertebrate species fell by

    an average of nearly one- third (31%) globally be-tween 1970 and 2006, with the decline especially severe in the tropics (59%) and in freshwater eco- systems (41%).

    Trends in the average size of species popula-tions, as measured by the Living Planet Index(LPI), vary greatly between temperate and tropi-cal regions, and between types of species [SeeFigure 2] . Temperate species populations actu-ally increased on average since 1970, and thesteady global decline since that date is account-ed for entirely by a sharp fall in the tropics. Thisdoes not necessarily mean tropical biodiversityis in a worse state than in temperate regions: if the index were to extend back centuries ratherthan decades, populations of temperate spe-cies may have declined by an equal or greateramount. Moreover, the increase in wild animalpopulations in temperate regions may be linkedto widespread afforestation of former croplandand pasture, and does not necessarily re ectricher diversity of species. However, the currentrates of decline in global species abundancerepresent a severe and ongoing loss of biodiver-sity in tropical ecosystems.

    Observed trends in populations of wild species

    include: Farmland bird populations in Europe have

    declined by on average 50% since 1980.

    Bird populations in North American grass-lands declined by nearly 40% between 1968and 2003, showing a slight recovery over thepast ve years; those in North American dry-lands have declined by nearly 30% since thelate 1960s.

    Of the 1,200 waterbird populations withknown trends, 44% are in decline.

    42% of all amphibian species and 40% of birdspecies are declining in population.

    Changes in theabundance anddistribution of

    species mayhave serious

    consequencesfor human


    FIGUR 2 Living Planet Index

    1970 1980 1990








    2000 2010


    The global Living Planet Index (LPI), shown here by the middle line, has declined by morethan 30% since 1970, suggesting that on average, vertebrate populations ell by nearlyone-third during that period. The Tropical LPI (bottom line) shows a sharper decline, o almost 60%. The Temperate LPI showed an increase o 15%, refecting the recovery o some species populations in temperate regions a ter substantial declines in the more dis-tant past.Source: WWF/ Zoological Society o London

    The LPI monitors more than 7,100 populations o over 2,300 species o mammals, birds, reptiles,amphibians and sh rom around the globe. The change in the size o these populations, relative to1970 (1970 =1.0) is plotted over time. A stable Living Planet value would indicate that there is no overallchange in average species abundance, a necessary but not su cient condition to indicate a halt in

    biodiversity loss.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 25

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 26

    Species in all groups with known trends are, on av-

    erage, being driven closer to extinction, with am- phibians facing the greatest risk and warm water reef-building corals showing the most rapid de-terioration in status. Among selected vertebrate,invertebrate and plant groups, between 12% and 55% of species are currently threatened with ex-tinction. Species of birds and mammals used for food and medicine are on average facing a greater extinction risk than those not used for such pur- poses. Preliminary assessments suggest that 23%of plant species are threatened.

    Conservation interventions have reduced theextinction risk for some species, but they areoutnumbered by those species that are mov-ing closer towards extinction. The Red List In-dex (RLI), which tracks the average extinctionrisk of species over time, shows that all groupsthat have been fully assessed for extinction riskare becoming more threatened. [See Box 4 andFigures 3, 4 and 5].

    The most severe recent increase in extinction

    risk has been observed among coral species,probably due in large part to the widespreadbleaching of tropical reef systems in 1998, ayear of exceptionally-high sea temperatures.Amphibians are on average the group mostthreatened with extinction, due to a combina-tion of habitat modi cation, changes in climateand the fungal disease chytridiomycosis.

    Regional trends regarding the extinction risk of species include:

    Bird species have faced an especially steepincrease in extinction risk in South-East Asia,on the Paci c Islands, polar regions and inmarine and coastal ecosystems.

    Mammals have also suffered the steepestincrease in risk of extinction in South andSouth-East Asia, due to the combined impactof hunting and loss of habitat. Between eco-system types, marine mammals have facedthe steepest increase in risk, although fresh-water mammals remain the most threatened.

    Amphibians have deteriorated in status fast-est, and are in absolute terms at greatest riskof extinction, in South and Central Americaand the Caribbean.

    Most futurescenarios project

    continuing highevels of extinctionsand loss of habitats

    throughout thiscentury

    Flamingoes congregating onLake Naivasha in the KenyanRi t Valley. They are among morethan 300 bird species supportedby this reshwater habitat, whichis designated or protectionunder the Ramsar Conventionon Wetlands. Among the threats

    acing the lake are over-abstractiono water, linked partly to irrigationo nearby fower arms. The lakehas also su ered rom nutrientand pesticide pollution, introduc-tion o invasive alien species and

    over shing.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 27

    FIGUR 3 Proportion of species indifferent threat categories

    Proportion o all assessed species in di erentcategories o extinction risk on the IUCN RedList, based on data rom 47,677 species.Source: IUCN

    40%(19 032)


    7%(3 325)

    10%(4 891)

    19%(9 075)

    8%(3 931)

    14%(6 548)

    The IUCN Red list categories refect the likelihood that a species may become extinct i current conditions persist. The risk status o species is basedon in ormation generated rom the work o thousands o species scientists rom around the world.

    Assessments ollow a rigorous system which classi es species into one o eight categories: Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endan-gered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened, Least Concern and Data De cient. Those species that are classi ed as Critically Endangered, Endangered or

    Vulnerable are considered to be threatened.

    Species are assigned to categories o extinction risk using criteria with quantitative thresholds or population size and structure, rate o populationdecline, range size and structure, and extinction risk as determined by modeling o population viability.

    As o 2009, 47,677 species had been assessed and o these 36% are considered threatened with extinction; while o the 25,485 species in com-pletely assessed groups (mammals, birds, amphibians, corals, reshwater crabs, cycads and coni ers) 21% are considered threatened. O 12,055plant species assessed, 70% are threatened. However, plant species with a higher average extinction risk are over-represented in this sample.

    BOX 4 How extinction risk is assessed

    Data decientLeast concern

    Near threatened


    Critically endangered


    Extinct orExtinct in the Wild

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 28

    The number and proportion o species in di -

    erent extinction risk categories in those taxo-nomic groups that have been comprehensivelyassessed, or ( or dragonfies and reptiles) es-timated rom a randomized sample o 1,500species each. For corals, only warm water ree -building species are included in the assess-ment.Source: IUCN

    FIGUR 4 Threat status of species in comprehensively assessed taxonomic groups


    2 000

    4 000

    6 000

    8 000

    10 000

    1 000

    3 000

    5 000

    7 000

    9 000




    Freshwater crabs

    CoralsFreshwater sh



    Number of species

    Number of species





    1 000

    1 500

    2 000











    EndangeredCritically endangered

    Data decientLeast concern

    Near threatened

    Extinct or Extinctin the Wild


  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 29





    1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010







    1.00 The proportion o warm-water coral, bird, mammal and am-phibian species expected to survive into the near uture withoutadditional conservation actions has declined over time. TheRed List Index (RLI) or all these species groups is decreasing.Coral species are moving most rapidly towards greater extinc-tion risk, while amphibians are, on average, the group mostthreatened.

    A Red List Index value o 1.0 indicates that all species in agroup would be considered as being o Least Concern, that isnot expected to become extinct in the near uture. At the otherextreme, a value o 0 indicates that all species in a group havegone extinct. A constant level o the index over time impliesthat the extinction risk o species is constant, and i the rate o biodiversity loss were reducing, the lines on this gure wouldshow an upward slope.Source: IUCN

    FIGUR 5 Red List Index

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 30

    Species of birds and mammals used for food

    and medicines are on average facing a greaterextinction risk than species as a whole, througha combination of over-exploitation, habitatloss and other factors. Species of bird, mam-mal and amphibians that are exploited for foodand medicines are also moving more quicklyinto a higher risk category. This emphasizes thethreat posed by biodiversity loss to the healthand well-being of millions of people directly de-pendent on the availability of wild species. Forexample the World Health Organization hasestimated that 60% of children suffering fromfever in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Zambia aretreated at home with herbal medicines while inone part of Nepal, 450 plant species are com-monly used locally for medicinal purposes.

    Globally some 80 per cent of people in develop-

    ing countries rely on traditional medicines, themajority of which are derived from plants. Al-though global data for plants are not available,medicinal plants face a high risk of extinction inthose parts of the world where people are mostdependent on them for health care and incomefrom wild collection namely Africa, Asia, thePaci c and South America [ See Figure 6 ].

    FIGUR 6 Conservation status of medicinalplant species in different geographic regions









    Asia AfricaAustralasia PacicNorthAmerica


    Threatened Data decientNot ThreatenedExtinct

    The greatest risk o extinction occurs in those regions, A rica, South America and the Paci c, where medicinalplants are most widely used.Source: IUCN

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 31

    The use o herbal medicine has a long tra-dition amongst all mountain communitiesin the Himalayan region. It involves a diver-sity o indigenous knowledge and culturalbelie s and constitutes an important basis

    or the development o society.

    Cultivation o Himalayan mayapple (Podo- phyllum hexandrum ) in Zhongdian, Yun-nan Province, China. The species wasscienti cally validated to contain anti-can-cerous compounds which led to high de-mand and large-scale collection rom thewild. A ew villagers embarked on cultiva-tion o the species but economic bene tsturned out to be limited.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 32

    Tropical forests continue to be lost at a rapid rate,

    although deforestation has recently slowed in some countries. Net loss of forests has slowed sub- stantially in the past decade, largely due to forest expansion in temperate regions.

    The best information on terrestrial habitats re-lates to forests, which currently occupy approx-imately 31 per cent of the Earths land surface.Forests are estimated to contain more thanhalf of terrestrial animal and plant species, thegreat majority of them in the tropics, and ac-count for more than two-thirds of net primaryproduction on land the conversion of solar en-ergy into plant matter.

    Deforestation, mainly conversion of forests toagricultural land, is showing signs of decreas-ing in several tropical countries [See Box 5and Figure 7] , but continues at an alarminglyhigh rate. Just under 130,000 square kilometresof forest were converted to other uses or lostthrough natural causes each year from 2000 to2010, compared to nearly 160,000 square kilo-metres per year in the 1990s. The net loss of forests has slowed substantially, from approxi-mately 83,000 square kilometres per year inthe 1990s to just over 50,000 square kilometresper year from 2000-2010. This is mainly due tolarge-scale planting of forests in temperate re-gions and to natural expansion of forests. Sincenewly-planted forests often have low biodiver-sity value and may only include a single treespecies, a slowing of net forest loss does notnecessarily imply a slowing in the loss of glo-

    bal forest biodiversity. Between 2000 and 2010,

    the global extent of primary forest (that is, sub-stantially undisturbed) declined by more than400,000 square kilometres, an area larger thanZimbabwe.

    South America and Africa continued to havethe largest net loss of forests in 2000-2010. Oce-ania also reported a net loss of forests, whilethe area of forest in North and Central Amer-ica (treated as a single region) was estimatedto be almost the same in 2010 as in 2000. Theforest area in Europe continued to expand, al-though at a slower rate than in the 1990s. Asia,which had a net loss in the 1990s, reported a netgain of forests in the period 20002010, prima-rily due to large-scale afforestation reported byChina, and despite continued high rates of netloss of forests in many countries in South andSoutheast Asia.

    The conifer-dominated boreal forests of highNorthern latitudes have remained broadly sta-ble in extent in recent years. However, there aresigns in some regions that they have becomedegraded. In addition, both temperate and bo-real forests have become more vulnerable tooutbreaks of pests and diseases, due in part toan increase in winter temperatures. For examplean unprecedented outbreak of the mountainpine beetle has devastated more than 110,000square kilometres of forest in Canada and theWestern United States since the late 1990s.

    Terrestri l ecosystems

    Well-targetedpolicies focusingon critical areas,

    species andecosystem

    services areessential to

    avoid the most

    dangerousimpacts onpeople and


  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 33

    The most recent satellite data suggest that annual de orestation o the Brazilianportion o the Amazon has slowed signi cantly, rom a peak o more than 27,000square kilometres in 2003-4 to just over 7,000 square kilometres in 2008-9, adecrease o over 74 per cent.

    However, the same satellite images indicate that a growing area o the Amazonorest is becoming degraded. The 2008-9 de orestation gure, the lowest since

    satellite monitoring began in 1988, may have been infuenced by the economicrecession, as well as by actions taken by the government, private sector and civilsociety organizations to control de orestation; but the average rom 2006-9 wasmore than 40 per cent below the average or the previous decade, indicating asigni cant slowing o the trend. Cumulative de orestation o the Brazilian Amazonis nevertheless substantial, reaching more than 17 per cent o the original orestarea, and even achievement o the existing government target o an 80 per centreduction in annual de orestation by 2020 ( rom the 1996-2005 average) wouldbring the cumulative loss o orest to nearly 20 per cent. According to a recentstudy co-ordinated by the World Bank, 20% Amazon de orestation would be su -

    cient to trigger signi cant dieback o orest in some parts o the biome by 2025,when coupled with other pressures such as climate change and orest res.

    BOX 5 The Brazilian Amazon a slowing trend for deforestation

    % lost

    1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 20200

    5 000

    10 000

    15 000

    20 000

    25 000

    30 000

    Deforestation in km 2





    20Cumulative forest loss

    Forest loss per year

    The darker bars represent the actual area o the Brazilian portion o the Amazon de orested each year between 1990 and 2009 ( gures on le tvertical axis), as observed rom satellite images analysed by the National Space Research Agency (INPE). The lighter bars represent the projectedaverage annual rate required to ul ll the Brazilian government target to reduce de orestation by 80% by 2020 ( rom the average between 1996and 2005). The solid line shows cumulative total de orestation ( gures on right vertical axis) as a percentage o the estimated original extent o theBrazilian Amazon (4.1 million km2 ).Source: Brazilian National Space Research Agency (INPE)

    FIGUR 7 Annual and cumulative deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 34

    Savannas and grasslands, while less well docu-

    mented, have also suffered severe declines.

    The extent of other terrestrial habitats is lesswell documented. It is estimated that morethan 95 per cent of North American grasslandshave been lost. Cropland and pasture have re-placed nearly half of the cerrado, the woodland-savanna biome of Central Brazil which has anexceptionally rich variety of endemic plant spe-cies. Between 2002 and 2008, the cerrado was es-timated to have lost more than 14,000 squarekilometres per year, or 0.7% of its original ex-tent annually, well above the current rate of loss in the Amazon.

    The Miombo woodlands of Southern Africa,

    another savanna region with signi cant plantdiversity, are also experiencing continued de-forestation. Stretching from Angola to Tanzaniaand covering an area of 2.4 million square kilo-metres (the size of Algeria), the Miombo provide

    rewood, building material and extensive sup-plies of wild food and medicinal plants to localcommunities across the region. The woodlandsare threatened by clearing land for agriculture,extraction of wood to make charcoal, and un-controlled bush res.

    Agricultural landscapes maintained by armers and herders using locally adapted practices not only maintain relatively high crop and livestock geneticdiversity, but may also support distinctive wild biodiversity. These types o landscapes are ound worldwide and are maintained through the applicationo a wide array o traditional knowledge and cultural practices which have evolved in parallel, creating landscapes with globally signi cant agriculturalbiodiversity.

    Examples o these types o systems include:

    BOX 6 Traditional managed landscapes and biodiversity

    Rice-fsh agriculture practiced in Chinahas been used since at least the Han Dy-nasty, 2,000 years ago. In this system, sh

    are kept in wet rice elds providing ertilizer,so tening soils and eating larvae and weeds,while the rice provides shade and ood orthe sh. The high quality o the sh and riceproduced rom this system directly bene ts

    armers through high nutrition, lower labourcosts and reducing the need or chemical

    ertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

    In the valleys o Cusco and Puno inPeru the Quechua and the Aymara peo-ples employ a orm o terracing which allow

    them to grow various crops, such as maizeand potatoes, as well as graze animalson steep slopes at altitudes ranging rom2,800 to 4,500 meters. This system sup-ports as many as 177 varieties o potato,domesticated over many generations. Italso helps to control soil erosion.

    Japans Satoyama landscapes are smallmosaics composed o various types o ec-osystems including secondary woodlands,

    irrigation ponds, rice paddies, pastures andgrasslands, rom which landholders havetraditionally harvested resources includingplants, sh, ungi, lea litter and wood, ina sustainable way. Satoyama landscapeshave evolved out o the long term interac-tion between people and the environment.

    Activities such as the periodic clearing o orests and the harvesting o orest litter,

    prevent the system rom being dominatedby a ew species and allow or a greaterdiversity o species to exist in the system.

  • 7/30/2019 Global biodiversity outlook


    Global Biodiversity Outlook 3 | 35

    Abandonment of traditional agricultural practices

    may cause loss of cultural landscapes and associ-ated biodiversity.

    Traditional techniques of managing land for ag-riculture, some dating back thousands of years,have served an important function in keepinghuman settlements in harmony with the natu-ral resources on which people depend [See Box6]. In many parts of the world, these systemsare being lost, due partly to the intensi ca-tion of production, and partly to abandonmentlinked to migration from rural to urban areas. Insome cases, this trend may create opportunitiesfor biodiversity through the re-establishmentof natural ecosystems on abandoned farmland.However, the changes may also involve impor-tant losses of distinctive biodiversity, amongboth domesticated and wild species, and of ecosystem services provided by managed land-scapes.

    Terrestrial habitats have become highly fragment-ed, threatening the viability of species and their ability to adapt to climate change.

    Ecosystems across the planet, including somewith exceptionally high levels of biodiversity, havebecome severely fragmented, threatening thelong-term viability of many species and ecosystemservices. Global data regarding this process arehard to obtain, but some well-studied ecosystemsprovide illustrations of the scale of fragmentationand its impacts. For example, the remaining SouthAmerican Atlantic Forest, estimated to contain upto eight per cent of all terrestrial species, is largelycomposed of fragments less than one square kilo-metre in size. More than 50 per cent lies within 100metres of the forest edge.

    When ecosystems become fragmented theymay be too small for some animals to establisha breeding territory, or force plants and animalsto breed with close relatives