How will COVID-19 impact biodiversity conservation?


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect societies around the world, the ongoing economic and social turmoil is likely to pose fundamental challenges to current and future wildlife conservation. This is a literature review of the results of major past social, political, economic and zoonotic shocks to protect biodiversity and shows the complex effects of shocks on conservation efforts. Based on the results of the review, they used six in-depth case studies and new literature to identify the known and expected positive and negative outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic for biodiversity conservation efforts around the world. There are a number of similarities between the current pandemic and past shocks, and experience shows that the decline in income and capacities in conservation, livelihoods and trade caused by the pandemic is likely to have long lasting negative effects on biodiversity and resources and conservation efforts. However, the COVID-19 pandemic also resulted in a global pause in human movement that is unique in recent history, which could facilitate lasting social and behavioral changes and provide opportunities to intensify and advance conservation efforts after the pandemic. Enhanced collaborations and partnerships at the local level, crosssectoral engagement, local investment and leadership will all enhance the resilience of conservation efforts in the face of future perturbations. Other actions aimed at enhancing resilience will require fundamental institutional change and extensive government and public engagement and support if they are to be realised. The pandemic has highlighted the inherent vulnerabilities in the social and economic models upon which many conservation efforts are based. In so doing, it presents an opportunity to reconsider the status quo for conservation, and promotes behaviours and actions that are resilient to future perturbation.

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