Conserving 30% of land could safeguard 500 gigatonnes of carbon

New research by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has revealed major benefits of integrated approaches to the climate. The report found that conserving 30 per cent of land could safeguard 500 gigatonnes of carbon stored in vegetation and soils and reduce the extinction risk of nearly 9 out of 10 threatened terrestrial species.

UNEP’s new report has shown how conserving 30 per cent of land in strategic locations could safeguard 500 gigatonnes of carbon stored in vegetation and soils – around half the world’s vulnerable terrestrial carbon stocks – and reduce the extinction risk of nearly 9 out of 10 threatened terrestrial species, according to a statement.

It highlights areas where global conservation action can deliver the most to achieve biodiversity goals and mitigate climate change, showing that when prioritising areas for conservation, accounting for biodiversity and carbon together can secure 95 per cent of the biodiversity benefits and nearly 80 per cent of the carbon stocks that could be obtained by prioritising either value alone.

Actions that capitalise on the contributions of nature, known as nature-based solutions, and are based on inclusive decision-making that recognises the land rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, are especially crucial to acting effectively to address climate change and biodiversity loss.

The analysis identifies well-known biodiversity hotspots as the most important regions to prioritise for nature-based climate solutions – these include: Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, Mesoamerica and large parts of Mediterranean biomes and South-East Asia, as well as other hotspots on the West African Coast, Papua New Guinea and the East Australian Rainforest.

Lord Zac Goldsmith, the UK Government Minister for Pacific and the Environment, said in the statement:“November marks one year to go until the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, and as co-hosts, we are in a strong position to galvanise global action.

“This important research underlines the critically important connections between climate and biodiversity and the urgent need to protect nature.”

Image credit: fgmsp via Pixabay

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