The urgency of targeted biodiversity conservation

Species extinction rates are more than 100X higher than any time in the last tens of millions of years

Given the current climate crisis, it is necessary to raise awareness about the benefits of wildlife conservation for humanity since human actions have modified their habitats, generated overexploitation of natural resources and polluted ecosystems causing the extinction of many species, the Amazon has been strongly affected during the last 50 years, increasing its temperature by one degree and decreasing 20% of its primary forest cover, which represents a turning point of death of the Amazon (Nobre et al. 2016; Bochow and Boers 2023), without taking into account the fact that wild species are forms of life that evolve and are a fundamental part to maintain the balance in each of the ecosystems that we have today and are sustaining the planet, added to the little recognition that Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities have for their long and effective task of in situ conservation, is how this proposal was born.

According to the World Wildlife Foundation, over the past 50 years, the planet has lost approximately 70% of the wild animal population (WWF 2023). Extinction of species has occurred throughout the history of the planet. Compared to the past tens of millions of years, extinction rates of species are 100-1,000 times the average. And extinction rates are still rising (Ritchie et al. 2022).

Figure 3. Global living planet index (WWF 2022).

Fortunately, a large percentage of the world’s biodiversity is preserved and protected today by an overwhelmingly untapped resource: Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Approximately 27% of the Amazon is occupied by Indigenous territories, which also contain the lowest rates of deforestation (Josse et al. 2021). Therefore, by including these people, we can protect these rainforests. A more inclusive methodology also addresses social inequalities. A booming demand for biocredits provides a market opportunity for investors as well as the people on the ground.

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