Biodiversity–productivity relationships are key to nature-based climate solutions

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The study found triple wins for climate change, tree diversity and society around the world through nature-based solutions.

Mori et al. 2021

In this study the potential of positive feedbacks by nature-based solutions in improved tree diversity under future climate change scenarios. This is in contrast to the concern about undesirable feedbacks where climate change drives biodiversity loss. The study found triple wins for climate change, tree diversity and society around the world through nature-based solutions:

Stabilize climate –> slow loss of tree diversity –> store more carbon.

Future shifts in tree species richness on the local scale were  quantified by combining niche models, metacommunity models, satellite data and machine learning. Changes in local productivity were aggregated to produce large-scale estimates of changes in productivity (due to changes in tree diversity resulting from climate change) on biome, national and regional scales.

The study found that GHG mitigation could help maintain tree diversity and avoid a 9–39% reduction in terrestrial primary productivity across different biomes over the next 50 years. Biome-level projections in the effect of a climate change mitigation to alleviate the loss of tree diversity-dependent productivity loss from 2005 to the 2070s.

Country-wide estimates of reductions in productivity loss due to climate mitigation efforts were also reported and compared with the country-level social cost of carbon (CSCC). Countries with a high CSCC, which have the greatest incentive to mitigate climate change to avoid its economic damages, also tend to be the countries where climate change mitigation could greatly help maintain primary productivity by safeguarding tree diversity. Nations with both large CSCC and productivity conservation potential have a huge incentive to stabilize climate by safeguarding tree diversity as a potent nature-based climate solution, in addition to reducing emissions from industry and energy sectors.

The study highlights that there are clear opportunities for the international community to achieve global pathways to stabilise climate while also conserving biodiversity and reducing impacts on society: a triple win.

Read more in the full published article.