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Strengthening synergies: how action to achieve post-2020 global biodiversity conservation targets can contribute to mitigating climate change

November 30, 2020
News item image Identifying areas where conservation management will provide the most benefits for both achieving post-2020 biodiversity conservation goals, and climate change mitigation, can secure 95% of potential biodiversity benefits and nearly 80% of potential carbon stocks that would be obtained if either value was prioritised alone

De Lamo et al. 2020

This report looks at how much climate change mitigation would be achieved if we meet biodiversity conservation targets. It is the first output of ongoing research on this topic, and uses information on carbon stocks in locations that have been identified as priorities for meeting biodiversity targets. The report finds that identifying areas where conservation management will provide the most benefits for both achieving post-2020 biodiversity conservation goals, and climate change mitigation, can secure 95% of potential biodiversity benefits and nearly 80% of potential carbon stocks that would be obtained if either value was prioritised alone. This indicates that there is great potential for harnessing synergies between biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation, and demonstrates the utility of multicriteria optimisation.

Strassburg et al. 2020 closely complements this study, revealing strong concordance of positive biodiversity and carbon outcomes from ecosystem restoration. Whilst Strassburg et al. focus on avoiding extinctions, De Lamo et al. focus on achieving post-2020 biodiversity conservation targets, and whilst the former focuses on ecosystem restoration, the latter focuses on protected areas and other effective conservation measures .

The report also emphasises the importance of the upcoming global biodiversity and climate summits (CBD COP15 and UNFCCC COP26) for bringing about the transformative change needed to address the twin biodiversity and climate crises. It emphasises the need for integrated action to tackle both crises together; indeed the latest update of the zero draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework includes a goal to contribute to climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster-risk reduction from nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches. The report suggests a turning point in biodiversity conservation, towards an integrated approach optimising multiple outcomes from interventions. There is much work still to be done, however, to understand at a finer scale the interactions between biodiversity and other outcomes of nature-based solutions.

Read the report here.