Policy Brief: Biodiversity and Climate Resilience

This policy brief outlines climate and other threats to biodiversity and explores the benefits of a regional green infrastructure approach.

Human activities are resulting in a rate of species extinction and ecosystem degradation that is being called the sixth mass extinction. Globally, we are witnessing biodiversity loss at such a rate and scale that it will potentially have a greater impact than the effects of climate change. Land use changes and urbanization are intensifying this rapid loss of biodiversity by altering and fragmenting habitats and harming ecosystem health through pollution and degradation.

In addition, climate change is forcing species to migrate and shrinking and shifting habitats, and climate change impacts—such as the increase of extreme weather events and rising temperatures—are making life more difficult for all species, and requiring widespread urban and rural adaptation responses as we reduce emissions.

Regional cooperation to protect and enhance ecosystems using biodiversity-led green infrastructure could help reduce the degradation and fragmentation of ecosystems and the loss of species while alleviating pressure on grey infrastructure and improving low carbon resilience to the impacts of climate change. Successful implementation of biodiversity-led green infrastructure requires strategic ecosystem-scale approaches to protecting, restoring, and connecting green spaces in urban areas through corridors and networks of green infrastructure.

Employing green infrastructure and other nature-based approaches to sustainable urban development has the potential to alleviate pressure on existing grey infrastructure while providing a cost-effective, low-carbon resilient response to both the climate crisis and the catastrophic global decline in biodiversity.