Status and Trends in Global Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital: Assessing Progress Toward Aichi Biodiversity Target 14

The Convention on Biological Diversity uses six indicators to assess progress toward Aichi Biodiversity Target 14 (ecosystem services), leaving many elements of the target untracked. We identify 13 ecosystem services as directly essential for human well-being, and select a set of 21 datasets as indicators of the state of natural capital underpinning those services, the benefits derived from them, and distribution of access to those benefits. Analysis of these indicators supports previous conclusions that there is no overall progress toward Target 14. Sixty percent of our “benefit” indicators have positive trends, whereas 86% of our “state” indicators show a decline in natural capital. This suggests that well-being is increasing in the near-term despite environmental degradation, and that unsustainable use of natural capital may fuel human development. As regulating services such as “soil fertility” continue to decline, however, it seems unlikely that this trend can continue without future negative impacts on humanity.

Conservation Letters (Volume 9, Issue 6)
Ellen Shepherd, E.J. Milner-Gulland, Andrew T. Knight, Matthew A. Ling, Sarah Darrah, Arnout van Soesbergen, Neil D. Burgess
Article, 9pages