Understanding land-use change impacts on biodiversity conservation
Postdoctoral research associate Tabitha Kabora reflects on how biodiversity research and collaboration at all levels is necessary to ensure a more resilient future.
In recent years there has been greater mobilisation and awareness about the efforts required to conserve biodiversity and build a resilient and sustainable planet. This work is the backbone of the research being conducted within the LCAB for example, my ongoing research into the impact of historical land-use and land cover change on biodiversity. Land use change has been shaped by human activity for centuries, and in turn shaped biodiversity (as discussed in a previous article titled ‘Like Rock art on cave walls’). By using archaeological, palaeo-ecological and environmental evidence combined with computer simulations my research explores the social and environmental processes that shaped land-use and biodiversity change over time.
Exploring the impact of land-use on biodiversity requires research across local, regional and global scales to have a better understanding of how biodiversity have been affected in the past, currently and the possible ways it will be affected in the future. Some ongoing research by Davison et al. 2021 titled ‘Land-use change and biodiversity: Challenges for assembling evidence on the greatest threat to nature’ explores the difficulty in effectively assessing the ways in which land-use impacts biodiversity given different study designs, target species and regional data gaps. The research conducted by Davison et al 2021, found that there were key challenges in understanding the interaction of climate change and land-use change, and ways in which this impacts biodiversity. This research highlighted the continued need to collaborate at local and global scales in order to better research the impacts of land-use and develop strategies that facilitate biodiversity conservation.
And in all these efforts, we need to consider the next steps of implementation and how to mobilise the public, private industry, NGOs and governments into collaborative and coordinated programmes that support sustainable land uses and biodiversity conservation. Some efforts such as through the COP26 facilitate push for international coordination and cooperation (as discussed in the article ‘Seeing humans as part of biodiversity’). As suggested by Davison et al. 2021, more research is required into land-use impacts on biodiversity and the subsequent findings need to be incorporated at both the local and global levels when developing sustainable land-use practices and monitor their impacts on biodiversity. This is important as land-use changes and their impacts on biodiversity vary across regions and over time, thus to implement effective and sustainable practices that support biodiversity conservation there needs to be more coordinated research and better collaboration in implementation of sustainable land-use policy and practice if we are to build a more resilient future.