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      A “Global Safety Net” to reverse biodiversity loss and stabilize Earth’s climate


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          The “Global Safety Net” shows where nature could be conserved and connected to reverse biodiversity loss and stabilize climate.


          Global strategies to halt the dual crises of biodiversity loss and climate change are often formulated separately, even though they are interdependent and risk failure if pursued in isolation. The Global Safety Net maps how expanded nature conservation addresses both overarching threats. We identify 50% of the terrestrial realm that, if conserved, would reverse further biodiversity loss, prevent CO 2 emissions from land conversion, and enhance natural carbon removal. This framework shows that, beyond the 15.1% land area currently protected, 35.3% of land area is needed to conserve additional sites of particular importance for biodiversity and stabilize the climate. Fifty ecoregions and 20 countries contribute disproportionately to proposed targets. Indigenous lands overlap extensively with the Global Safety Net. Conserving the Global Safety Net could support public health by reducing the potential for zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 from emerging in the future.

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          Most cited references28

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          Anthropogenic transformation of the biomes, 1700 to 2000

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            The last frontiers of wilderness: Tracking loss of intact forest landscapes from 2000 to 2013

            Intact forest landscapes have the greatest conservation value but are shrinking due to industrial logging and fragmentation.
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              Global shifts in mammalian population trends reveal key predictors of virus spillover risk

              Emerging infectious diseases in humans are frequently caused by pathogens originating from animal hosts, and zoonotic disease outbreaks present a major challenge to global health. To investigate drivers of virus spillover, we evaluated the number of viruses mammalian species have shared with humans. We discovered that the number of zoonotic viruses detected in mammalian species scales positively with global species abundance, suggesting that virus transmission risk has been highest from animal species that have increased in abundance and even expanded their range by adapting to human-dominated landscapes. Domesticated species, primates and bats were identified as having more zoonotic viruses than other species. Among threatened wildlife species, those with population reductions owing to exploitation and loss of habitat shared more viruses with humans. Exploitation of wildlife through hunting and trade facilitates close contact between wildlife and humans, and our findings provide further evidence that exploitation, as well as anthropogenic activities that have caused losses in wildlife habitat quality, have increased opportunities for animal–human interactions and facilitated zoonotic disease transmission. Our study provides new evidence for assessing spillover risk from mammalian species and highlights convergent processes whereby the causes of wildlife population declines have facilitated the transmission of animal viruses to humans.

                Author and article information

                Sci Adv
                Sci Adv
                Science Advances
                American Association for the Advancement of Science
                September 2020
                04 September 2020
                : 6
                : 36
                : eabb2824
                [1 ]RESOLVE, Washington, DC, USA.
                [2 ]University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA.
                [3 ]Globaïa, Wellington, New Zealand.
                [4 ]EarthX, London, UK.
                [5 ]Google, Mountain View, CA, USA.
                [6 ]One Earth, Rockefeller Philanthropy, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
                [7 ]Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.
                [8 ]World Wildlife Fund, Hong Kong SAR.
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Email: edinerstein@ 123456resolve.ngo
                Author information
                Copyright © 2020 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC).

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 14 February 2020
                : 22 July 2020
                Funded by: Rockefeller Philanthropies / One Earth;
                Award ID: Nov2019
                Research Article
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                Environmental Studies
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