Global Biodiversity Outlook 3

date: 2010-05-11

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Natural systems that support economies, lives and livelihoods across the planet are at risk of rapid degradation and collapse, unless there is swift, radical and creative action to conserve and sustainably use the variety of life on Earth. That is a principal conclusion of a major new assessment of the current state of biodiversity and the implications of its continued loss for human well-being.

The third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3), produced by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) confirms that the world has failed to meet its target to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.

The report is based on scientific assessments, national reports submitted by governments and a study on future scenarios for biodiversity. Subject to an extensive independent scientific review process, publication of GBO-3 is one of the principal milestones of the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity.

The Outlook will be a key input into discussions by world leaders and heads of state at a special high level segment of the United Nations General Assembly on 22 September. Its conclusions will also be central to the negotiations by world governments at the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit in October.

GLOBIO contribution

Scientists from a wide range of disciplines came together as part of the preparation of GBO-3 to identify possible future outcomes for biodiversity during the current century, based on observed trends, models and experiments. The GLOBIO team contributed to this process with results from earlier analyses for GEO4 and GBO2.

The principal conclusions on biodiversity futures for the 21st century:

  1. Projections of the impact of global change on biodiversity show continuing and often accelerating species extinctions, loss of natural habitat, and changes in the distribution and abundance of species, species groups and biomes over the 21st century. 
  2. There is a high risk of dramatic biodiversity loss and accompanying degradation of a broad range of ecosystem services if the Earth system is pushed beyond certain thresholds or tipping points.
  3. Earlier assessments have underestimated the potential severity of biodiversity loss based on plausible scenarios, because the impacts of passing tipping points or thresholds of ecosystem change have not previously been taken into account. 
  4. There are greater opportunities than identified in earlier assessments to address the biodiversity crisis while contributing to other social objectives; for example, by reducing the scale of climate change without large-scale deployment of biofuels and accompanying loss of natural habitats. 
  5. Biodiversity and ecosystem changes could be prevented, significantly reduced or even reversed if strong action is applied urgently, comprehensively and appropriately, at international, national and local levels.

Results are documented in the technical report 'Biodiversity scenarios. Projections of 21st century change in biodiversity and associated ecosystem services.'

More information

Source: CBD press release

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