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IPBES Report: Transforming changes are necessary to restore and protect nature

Recent IPBES report warns that 75% of terrestrial ecosystems have been severely altered by human actions such as livestock and agriculture.

75% of terrestrial environments have been "significantly altered" by human actions, in the case of marine environments it reaches 66% according to the recent report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The report warns about the impact that human activity has on biodiversity, finding a 47% reduction in global indicators of ecosystem extent and condition against their estimated natural baselines. Being a wake-up call the fact that many indicators continue to decline by at least 4% per decade.

IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson, said that "The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture" and warned that the health of the ecosystems of which the human species depends and all other species "deteriorate more rapidly than ever.

The IPBES Global Assessment Report was compiled by 145 experts from 50 countries over the past three years, together with the contributions of another 310 authors. Besides, for the first time in a study of this magnitude, the contributions of indigenous peoples and local communities were considered.

The Report assesses the changes registered in the last five decades, thus providing a complete picture of the relationship between the economic development pathways and their impacts on nature.

At the same time, Sir Watson points out that "transformative change" is the key so that nature can be conserved, restored and used sustainably. By transformative change it refers to "a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”

The IPBES report in numbers

  • 23% of the land areas have recorded a reduction in productivity due to land degradation
  • 100 million hectares of agricultural expansion in the tropics from 1980 to 2000 at the expense of intact forests, mainly cattle ranching in Latin America (+/-42 million ha)
  • 5.6 gigatons of annual CO2 emissions sequestered in marine and terrestrial ecosystems, an amount equivalent to 60% of global fossil-fuel emission
  • 100-300 million people in coastal areas at greater risk due to loss of coastal habitat protection

In this regard, IUCN and IPBES share common goals and similar priorities: undertaking authoritative assessments, generating robust knowledge inclusive of local and indigenous perspectives, supporting policy and developing capacity-building across continents, for a just world that values and conserves nature.

The ability of IUCN to convene thousands of participants to its World Conservation Congress and to conduct high-level dialogues contributes to advancing new ideas and to strengthening stakeholder engagement in global biodiversity frameworks, such as the IPBES.


Written by: Norberto Méndez

Style and format: Lila García

Translation: Lila García

Provita Aug 21, 2019


IUCN Red List of Ecosystems


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