CSIRO study looks at ways to improve biodiversity

By Rodney Woods

Feeding a hungry world has put increasing pressure on our lands and the native plants and animals that rely on them, and a new study has acknowledged the rapid decline in terrestrial biodiversity and looks at seven ways to reverse the declining biodiversity trends.

One of the study's authors, Dr Mario Herrero from the CSIRO, said the paper confirmed that terrestrial biodiversity was decreasing rapidly as a result of human pressures, largely through habitat loss and degradation due to the conversion of natural habitats to agriculture and forestry.

Fellow CSIRO author Dr Simon Ferrier said the study used an ensemble of land-use and biodiversity models to assess how humanity could reverse terrestrial biodiversity declines due to habitat conversion, a major threat to biodiversity.

“It has shown that an ambitious integrated program of conservation and restoration efforts, along with transforming the food system, can reverse the decline in biodiversity ... from habitat conversion,” Dr Ferrier said.

Dr Herrero said the study found that through further sustainable intensification and trade, reduced food waste, and healthier human diets, more than two thirds of future biodiversity losses could be avoided and the biodiversity trends from habitat conversion could be reversed by 2050 for almost all models used in the research.