An evidence‐base for developing ambitious yet realistic national biodiversity targets

Bane, Miranda S. ORCID:; Cooke, Rob ORCID:; Boyd, Robin J. ORCID:; Brown, Andy; Burns, Fiona; Henly, Lauren; Vanderpump, Jemilah; Isaac, Nick J.B. ORCID: 2023 An evidence‐base for developing ambitious yet realistic national biodiversity targets. Conservation Science and Practice, 5 (2), e12862. 13, pp.

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Biodiversity targets are a key tool, used at a global and national policy level, to align biodiversity goals, promote conservation action, and recover nature. Yet most biodiversity targets are not met. In England, the government has committed to legally-binding targets to halt and recover the decline in species abundance by 2030 and 2042. We present evidence from recent population trends of 670 terrestrial animal species (for which abundance time series are available) as a species abundance indicator, together with a synthesis of case studies on species recovery, to assess the degree to which these targets are achievable. The case studies demonstrate that recovery is possible through a range of approaches. The indicator demonstrates that theoretically targets can be achieved by addressing severe declines in a relatively small number of species, as well as creating smaller benefits for many species through landscape-scale interventions. The fact that multiple pathways exist to achieve the species abundance targets in England presents choices but also raises the possibility that targets might be reached with perverse consequences. We demonstrate that evidence on achievability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for determining what is required to deliver conservation outcomes and restore biodiversity.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2578-4854
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: biodiversity, conservation planning, convention on biological diversity, forecast, indicators, policy, recovery, SMART, targets
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 27 Feb 2023 16:32 +0 (UTC)

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