The True Value of Biodiversity

Last November, at the world’s most important climate change conference, something unique happened. These meetings, which bring together world leaders to address the threats of climate change, have typically given little time to biodiversity. At COP26, biodiversity was placed front and center on several occasions, perhaps most significantly when over 100 nations pledged to end global deforestation by 2030. The nations and the financial institutions of our world are waking up to the fact that we must conserve biodiversity if we stand any chance of mitigating the impacts of climate change.

The close link between species, habitats and climate change, which we explore in this newsletter, is now well publicized. Our collective response must be proportionate to the threats and orchestrated efficiently and effectively. Our planet is on a razor’s edge of irreversible instability. Now is not the time to be slowing down, reducing efforts and losing focus.

This year we must, and we are, scaling up our efforts across the tropics, focusing on some of the most biodiverse and carbon-rich habitats in the world. We will rely on your support to give us the flexibility and ready funding to act quickly to save the most biodiverse landscapes in the world that have been storing carbon for millenia.

Biodiversity conservation has always been at the heart of our work. To many of us, the inherent value of a species is justification enough to try to save it. But that value alone has not been enough to save cherished species from extinction. With your support, we have protected almost 40 million acres. Our goal is to protect at least 125 million acres by 2025, saving half the world’s most threatened birds and mammals, and mitigating the impacts of climate change in significant ways.

We’re supporting our partners by working with governments and civil society organizations to end deforestation and protect at least 30% of the world’s land and seas by 2030. And we support Indigenous peoples and local communities to protect their lands from the myriad threats that not only impact their way of life but also our global community.

We can hope that COP26 was a turning point, one at which the true value of biodiversity is considered and efforts to conserve species are scaled up. Until then, Rainforest Trust, our partners across the globe and you will continue to play a critical part in protecting species and our planet one place at a time.

– James Lewis, Vice President of Conservation
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