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The Global Land Programme believes land system science can and should contribute to solutions and the transformation called for in the recently released IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
A new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (29 April – 4 May) in Paris, identifies changes in land and sea use as the most significant direct driver of changes in nature.
Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, the Report assesses changes over the past five decades, providing a comprehensive picture of the relationship between economic development pathways and their impacts on nature. It also offers a range of possible scenarios for the coming decades.
It found to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and the degradation of nature, we need more sustainable agricultural practices and food systems.
Notably, SSC Fellow Sandra Díaz was one of the Report's three co-chairs.
“Biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people are our common heritage and humanity’s most important life-supporting ‘safety net’. But our safety net is stretched almost to breaking point,” said Prof. Sandra Díaz (Argentina), who co-chaired the Assessment with Prof. Josef Settele (Germany) and Prof. Eduardo S. Brondízio (Brazil and USA). “The diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems, as well as many fundamental contributions we derive from nature, are declining fast, although we still have the means to ensure a sustainable future for people and the planet.”
Several other GLP SSC members and Fellows were involved in the report itself, including Scientific Steering Committee Co-Chair Rinku Roy Chowdhury (coordinating lead author), SSC members Patrick Meyfroidt, Unai Pascual, and Andreas Heinimann (authors).
Some key statistics cited in the report that are relevant to the GLP’s membership and work are:
Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions. On average these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas held or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.
More than a third of the world’s land surface and nearly 75% of freshwater resources are now devoted to crop or livestock production.
The value of agricultural crop production has increased by about 300% since 1970, raw timber harvest has risen by 45% and approximately 60 billion tons of renewable and nonrenewable resources are now extracted globally every year – having nearly doubled since 1980.