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Biodiversity, climate change and poverty: exploring the links

Hannah Reid and Krystyna Swiderska

Briefing, 6 pages

Biodiversity — the variety of all life, from genes and species to ecosystems — is intimately linked to Earth’s climate and, inevitably, to climate change. Biodiversity and poverty are also inextricably connected. For instance, changes to natural ecosystems influence both climate change and people’s ability to cope with some of its damaging impacts. And in their turn climate change, as well as people’s responses to it, affect biodiversity. Unpicking all these strands clearly shows that conserving and managing biodiversity can help natural systems and vulnerable people cope with a shifting global climate. Yet compared to activities such as forest conservation and afforestation — widely noted as a way of sequestering carbon and cutting greenhouse gas emissions — biodiversity conservation is a neglected area. That must change: urgent support is needed for local solutions to biodiversity loss that provide benefits on all counts.

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