Setting robust biodiversity goals

Martine Maron*, Diego Juffe-Bignoli, Linda Krueger, Joseph Kiesecker, Noëlle F. Kümpel, Kerry ten Kate, E. J. Milner-Gulland, William N.S. Arlidge, Hollie Booth, Joseph W. Bull, Malcolm Starkey, Jonathan M. Ekstrom, Bernardo Strassburg, Peter H. Verburg, James E.M. Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The new global biodiversity framework (GBF) being developed under the Convention on Biological Diversity must drive action to reverse the ongoing decline of the Earth's biodiversity. Explicit, measurable goals that specify the outcomes we want to achieve are needed to set the course for this action. However, the current draft goals and targets fail to set out these clear outcomes. We argue that distinct outcome goals for species, ecosystems, and genetic diversity are essential and should specify net outcomes required for each. Net outcome goals such as “no net loss” do, however, have a controversial history, and loose specification can lead to perverse outcomes. We outline seven general principles to underpin net outcome goal setting that minimize risk of such perverse outcomes. Finally, we recommend inclusion of statements of impact in action targets that support biodiversity goals, and we illustrate the importance of this with an example from the draft GBF action targets. These modifications would help reveal the specific contribution each action would make to achieving the outcome goals and provide clarity on whether the successful achievement of action targets would be adequate to achieve the outcome goals and, in turn, the 2050 vision: living in harmony with nature.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12816
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalConservation Letters
Volume14
Issue number5
Early online date31 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
M.M. was supported by Australian Research Council Future Fellowship FT14001516. E.J.M.‐G. was supported by Pew Marine Fellowship, the Leventis Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Synchronicity Earth. D.J.‐B. was supported by UK Research and Innovation's Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI GCRF) through the Development Corridors Partnership project (project no. ES/P011500/1). W.N.S.A. was supported by Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom and the University of Oxford (Ph.D. scholarship NZCR‐2015‐174). We are grateful to Daniela Guaras and Neville Ash (UNEP‐WCMC), Bob Pressey, and five anonymous referees for useful comments on the manuscript, and Mary Cryan for assistance with graphic design.

Funding Information:
M.M. was supported by Australian Research Council Future Fellowship FT14001516. E.J.M.-G. was supported by Pew Marine Fellowship, the Leventis Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and Synchronicity Earth. D.J.-B. was supported by UK Research and Innovation's Global Challenges Research Fund (UKRI GCRF) through the Development Corridors Partnership project (project no. ES/P011500/1). W.N.S.A. was supported by Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom and the University of Oxford (Ph.D. scholarship NZCR-2015-174). We are grateful to Daniela Guaras and Neville Ash (UNEP-WCMC), Bob Pressey, and five anonymous referees for useful comments on the manuscript, and Mary Cryan for assistance with graphic design.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Conservation Letters published by Wiley Periodicals LLC

Keywords

  • conservation policy
  • conservation targets
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • ecosystem collapse
  • global biodiversity framework
  • national commitments
  • net gain
  • no net loss
  • perverse outcomes
  • species extinction

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