Research highlight

Biodiversity: Conservation costs


October 26, 2017

A new evidence-based model predicts the impact of conservation funding on biodiversity loss, a Nature paper reveals. The study provides decision-makers with a tool for informing one of the most important strategic decisions in global biodiversity policy: the financing that each country needs to commit to achieve specific biodiversity goals.

Halting global biodiversity loss is a major goal of both the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but progress is slow and financial decisions are hindered by uncertainty over what the investment will achieve.

Anthony Waldron and colleagues developed a model that assesses how conservation funding between 1992 and 2003 has influenced biodiversity loss between 1996 and 2008 in 109 countries signed up to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Conservation funding reduced biodiversity loss by an average of 29% per country, the authors report, with outcomes heavily influenced by socioeconomic pressure. The effects of spending shrink as human development pressure grows, indicating that funding levels may need to increase over time.

doi: 10.1038/nature24295

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