The World Wide Fund For Nature’s 2022 Living Planet Report reveals that global wildlife populations have decreased by around 70% since 1970. This calls for urgent action to conserve our planet’s biodiversity.
One main driver of biodiversity loss is habitat conversion and degradation. In recent years, the potential of nature-based solutions (NbS) to mitigate this threat has been widely discussed. NbS are actions that protect, restore, or sustainably manage ecosystems – for instance, through habitat conservation and restoration. They have thus been heralded as a financially viable means for climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as biodiversity conservation.
The proboscis monkey is an endangered species endemic to Borneo, occurring primarily in mangrove forests. The boom in nature-based solutions has resulted in increased attention and resources channelled towards mangrove protection and restoration, which would likely benefit biodiversity in these habitats. Photo credit: Charles J. Sharp
As much attention has been received, NbS have similarly attracted controversy. NbS have been criticised as a means for responsible parties to continue destructive or pollutive activities while using carbon credits from NbS projects to offset emissions. Projects that do not factor in important ecological and social considerations may also adversely impact biodiversity and local communities.
While these concerns are valid, NbS should not be prematurely dismissed. The recent UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) has recognised the potential of NbS to minimise the impacts of climate change on biodiversity (Target 8) and restore and enhance ecosystem function (Target 11). NbS were also ascribed as key to achieving Net Zero and nature-positive goals at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27) last November.
NbS alone are not the panacea to climate change and biodiversity loss. However, when adhered to principles for high-quality NbS, they are an essential part of the suite of solutions needed to address the crises our planet and wildlife face. Moreover, the continual improvement of criteria for such projects further positions NbS to reap more benefits for biodiversity.
Adatos.AI supports NbS project developers in their accreditation process with certification bodies (such as Verra and Gold Standard) through initial site carbon assessments for pre-feasibility studies, detailed land use classification for targeted field sampling, historical land use land cover change analysis, and more. Message us on LinkedIn today to find out more.