Environmental indicators, modelling and outlooks

Biodiversity Chapter of the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction



Without new policies, by 2050, biodiversity loss is projected to continue, especially in Asia, Europe and Southern Africa. Globally, terrestrial biodiversity (measured as mean species abundance – or MSA – an indicator of the intactness of a natural ecosystem) is projected to decrease a further 10% by 2050.

Mature forests, which are richer in biodiversity, are projected to shrink in area by 13%. The main pressures driving biodiversity loss include land-use change (e.g. agriculture), the expansion of commercial forestry, infrastructure development, human encroachment and fragmentation of natural habitats, as well as pollution and climate change. Climate change is projected to become the fastest growing driver of biodiversity loss to 2050, followed by commercial forestry and, to a lesser extent, bioenergy croplands.

About one-third of global freshwater biodiversity has already been lost, and further loss is projected to 2050. Declining biodiversity threatens human welfare, especially for the rural poor and indigenous communities whose livelihoods often depend directly on biodiversity and ecosystems services.

The aggregate loss of biodiversity and ecosystem service benefits associated with the global loss of forests, for example, is estimated to be between USD 2 and 5 trillion per year, according to the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study.

Effects of different pressures on terrestrial MSA: Baseline,
2010 to 2050

Note: Infra+Encr+Frag = infrastructure, encroachment and ecosystem fragmentation. BRIICS: Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, South Africa. RoW: Rest of the world.

Source: OECD Environmental Outlook Baseline; output from IMAGE model suite.

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Related Events

  • Meeting of OECD Environment Ministers, 29-30 March 2012, Paris
  • TEEB Conference 2012: OECD Environment Director, Simon Upton gave a keynote speech on the Environmental Outlook to 2050 at the conference on Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: Challenges for Science and Implementation, 19-22 March, Leipzig, Germany

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