Action to assist natural habitats, for example restoring native woodlands or peatlands) can deliver win-wins for wildlife, storing carbon and shielding against climate impacts, according to two global bodies.
The analysis has been created by a workshop of 50 biodiversity and climate specialists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in the very first collaboration of its kind.
Climate change is threatening wildlife by affecting habitats, along with the warmer the world becomes, the natural systems can provide for humans.
At precisely the same time, destroying habitats and nature — from salt marshes along the coasts to wildlife in the oceans and forests on earth — reduces the natural world’s ability to capture human-driven carbon emissions and also shield against climate impacts for example sea level increases , storms and droughts.
There are alternatives that can help deliver benefits for your climate and temperament, such as preventing the devastation of wildlife-rich habitats such as forests, wetlands, mangroves, kelp forests and seagrass meadows.
Restoring these kind of areas is one of the cheapest and fastest nature-based measures to decrease emissions, in addition to providing habitat and delivering advantages including shielding coasts, cutting soil erosion and curbing flooding.
Managing harvest and grazing land better, with measures like conserving soils and decreasing pesticides, can save to 6 billion tonnes of emissions a year, the report states.
But a few”nature-based solutions” that utilize natural methods to tackle climate change — such as non-native shrub plantations or large planting of monoculture crops for bioenergy — harm nature and humans.
And while nature-based solutions might help tackle climate change, they are not a replacement for instantaneous and competitive greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all industries, the experts said.
“The land can’t do it all. Sometimes nature-based solutions are seen as quick, convenient and a cheap way to address climate change,” stated Pete Smith at the University of Aberdeen in the UK, part of this group that generated the report.
“But we know we must reduce our greenhouse gas emissions immediately and aggressively in all sectors of the economy, and to apply nature-based solutions will help us with that but it is not a substitute for that immediate and aggressive reductions in emissions,” explained Smith.
“We cannot avoid dangerous climate change without sucking up some of the carbon we’ve already put into the atmosphere,” said Camille Parmesan at Plymouth University, UK, another writer of the report. “At this point reducing emissions is essential, but not enough, and the best way to suck up carbon is to use the power of plants.”
In the UK, there should be a focus on rebuilding degraded peatlands and organic meadows on grazing land and planting diverse native woodlands, to improve wildlife, consume carbon and create landscapes which are resilient to a changing climate, the specialists said.
Parmesan warned that nature-based solutions need to be smart, and while planting trees may be the right solution in certain areas, it isn’t always. She cautioned against planting”sterile” tree plantations that lack diversity, do nothing for wildlife and are not resilient to climate change.
She called for planting of more varied woodlands, which might be better for character, but also store carbon and be more resilient to climate change. “I am