Biodiversity

Dolors Armenteras, Colin Finlayson

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Abstract

Conversion of natural habitats to large-scale, commercial agriculture has resulted in net benefits for human well-being. However, this has often been accompanied by reductions in othertration and flood regulation. Continuing ecological degradation, unsustainable levels of consumption and inequities in sharing of the benefits from biodiversity threaten the improvements in human well-being and health that have been achieved in recent decades. There has been an increase in responses to the loss and degradation of biodiversity, although these have failed to reduce the decline, and more effort is needed.Successful responses include: increases in the designation of protected areas, now covering nearly 13 per cent of land area, and increasing recognition of indigenous and local community managed areas; and adoption of policies and actions for managing invasive alien species and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). About 55 per cent of countries have legislation to prevent the introduction of new alien species and control existing invasives, but less than 20 per cent are estimated to have comprehensive strategies and management plans,and there is a lack of data on their effectiveness. Successful responses also include regulations that support sustainable harvesting and reduced pollution; successful species recoveries and habitat restoration; and some progress towards equitable access to and benefit sharing of genetic resources. International financing for biodiversity conservation is estimated to have grown by about 38 per cent in real terms since 1992 and now stands at US$3.1 billion per year. But less than 1.5 per cent of the marine area is covered by protected areas. An opportunity to develop a concerted global approach to stop and reverse the decline of biodiversity is provided by the recent adoption ofthe Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011'2020) including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and acceptance of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing.The pressure on biodiversity continues to increase. Habitat loss and degradation from agriculture and infrastructure development, overexploitation, pollution and invasive alien species remain the predominant threats. Climate change is increasing in importance and will have profound impacts, particularly in combination with other threats. Greater integration of policies and institutional responses, including effective engagement of local communities, is required to stop and reverse current trends. The world lost over 100 million hectares of forest from 2000 to 2005, and has lost 20 per cent of its seagrass and mangrove habitats since 1970 and 1980 respectively. In some regions, 95 per cent of wetlands have been lost. The condition of coral reefs globally has declined by 38 per cent since 1980. Two-thirds of the world's largest rivers are now moderately to severely fragmented by dams and reservoirs. The state of global biodiversity is continuing todecline, with substantial and ongoing losses of populations, species and habitats.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNairobi
PublisherUNEP
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9789280731903
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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    Armenteras, D., & Finlayson, C. (2012). Biodiversity. UNEP.