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Biodiversity besieged

Key to charts

Along with expanding infrastructure (see chart below on the left) and climate changes, land transformations leading to fragmentation and loss of habitats play a key role in determining the future of biodiversity. The combined pressures result in a lowering of Natural Capital Index in all scenarios (see chart below on the right). Strenuous efforts are made to control the degree of fragmentation in Policy First and Sustainability First even as the amount of land converted grows to meet the demands of increasingly better-off populations. Even in these cases, biodiversity loss is unavoidable in the short term, particularly from the effects of climate change.

Although policy efforts are not quite so determined in a Markets First world, the protection of commercially valuable natural areas and improvements in agricultural technology provide some benefit. In a Security First scenario, regulatory and trade mechanisms such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) break down completely, resulting in more illegal trade in endangered species. This setback spurs further loss of biodiversity, both directly and indirectly. As populations of key species are driven to extremely low levels, the ecosystems become increasingly fragile and vulnerable to slight changes in climate and other factors. At the same time, more coercive efforts, including the use of public and private armies, do allow for the protection of strategic areas.

Land area impacted by infrastructure expansion: Africa (% of total land area)

Source: GLOBIO (see technical annex)

Natural Capital Index: Africa

An index of 100 is the situation when total land area is undomesticated and all pressures are below the minimum threshold (see technical annex). Reduction in the Natural Capital Index indicates habitat loss and increasing pressure on terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. Pressures on biodiversity increase between 2002 and 2032 in all scenarios.

Source: IMAGE 2.2 (see technical annex)