Developing next-generation tools to predict the biodiversity impacts of feeding 10 billion people
- Start date: 1 October 2021
- End date: 30 September 2021
- Funder: Cambridge Conservation Initiative
- Partners and collaborators: Cambridge Conservation Initiative, BirdLife International, Flora and Fauna International, RSPB, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford
- External primary investigator: Paul Donald, BirdLife International
Agriculture must expand and intensify if it is to feed a growing population. Where it does so will profoundly affect the future of biodiversity. We will develop and combine cutting-edge models of agricultural futures and novel assessments of species’ vulnerability and population persistence to predict which regions and species are likely to be most impacted, and hence where policies to mitigate such threats are most urgently needed.
Our aim is to develop the most advanced set of projections yet made of the global biodiversity impacts of future agricultural development. We will estimate the magnitude and location of impacts of future agricultural development on the world’s biodiversity in the coming decades under a number of plausible scenarios, and identify which species, sites of conservation importance and regions may be most impacted under different scenarios. These will be used to inform the development of mitigating policies and other conservation interventions.
The project will:
- Ensure that the extinction risks to birds are adequately captured in their IUCN Red List status by assessing the risks posed to all bird species by future agricultural development.
- Feed this information into ongoing processes to reassess their status for the IUCN Red List seek to identify species currently listed as Least Concern that may be at greater risk, and threatened species that may warrant. reclassification into higher categories of risk seek to identify sites of conservation importance that may be particularly threatened by future agricultural change.
- Guide policy responses to future agricultural change by identifying hotspots of predicted future agriculture-driven extinction risk.
- Assess what policy mechanisms are currently in place, or will need to be developed, in those regions to address the problems before they become too severe.