Better biodiversity protection key to avoiding drastic tipping points

A major UN report has warned that ongoing nature losses may push key ecosystems beyond “tipping points”, leading to drastic losses in biodiversity and accompanying ecosystem services.

The third Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3) states that the poor will suffer the first and most severe impacts of change, but ultimately all societies and communities will suffer.

Such tipping points could include the rapid dieback of the Amazon forest, where deforestation, fire and climate change may interact to cause an ongoing cycle of forest loss and a shift to savanna-like vegetation. Whilst reductions in regional rainfall may only affect local agriculture, increased carbon emmisions will hit the global community.

The report continues to state that whilst ecosystem restoration will increasingly be needed, biodiversity and associated services of restored ecosystems remains below that of natural ecosystems, and some systems may be impossible to restore to the original states that economies or communities depended upon (as seen in the Grand Banks cod fishery). Preserving biodiversity and investing in resilient and diverse ecosystems may well present the best-value insurance policy yet devised.

Source: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010) Global Biodiversity Outlook 3.
Montréal, 94 pages. (

Ecosystem services are one of the BES’s policy priorities. You can read more about our activity on the issue here