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CASC Chief Doug Beard co-chaired the working group that led to the recently approved IPBES Assessment Reports on the sustainable use of wild species and the multiple values of nature summaries for policymakers. 

From wild tree species that provide most of the world’s lumber and building materials, to eco-tourism in protected spaces that generates billions to the global economy, people around the world rely on a vast number of wild species for industry, food, shelter, and more. However, the current global biodiversity crisis threatens many of the species people depend on, endangering economies and progress, especially for rural, Indigenous, and subsistence communities. Overexploitation, or the unsustainable use of these wild species, is a major driver of biodiversity loss, underscoring the need for sustainable practices for the use of wild species.

To aide in addressing these issues, the 9th Session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) recently released two new reports, “The Assessment Report on the Sustainable Use of Wild Species” and “The Assessment Report on the Diverse Values and Valuation of Nature”, highlighting the global dependence on wild species and the urgent need to establish sustainable use and assess nature’s multiple values. With participation from numerous government entities and hundreds of experts and contributing authors, the IPBES seeks “to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.”

The reports acknowledge that billions of people around the world depend on nature, and that sustainable use of these species and inclusion of multiple values of nature in decision making is critical to combatting the current biodiversity crisis. Several USGS employees have been involved in the development of these reports, including National CASC Chief Doug Beard who serves on the IPBES Bureau and co-chaired the negotiation of the report’s summary for policymakers and National CASC Biologist Sarah Weiskopf who serves as the National Focal Point and represented the U.S. at the negotiation.

The sustainable use report identifies drivers of biodiversity loss that impact human use of these species and yields insight on how to achieve sustainable use – maintaining ecosystems while providing for human prosperity. The multiple values of nature report highlights that past reliance on only market-based values has contributed to the current biodiversity crisis, and explores methods for considering diverse values of nature in decision making. Both reports present tools and processes for planning for the possible challenges countries will face in the future, stemming from climate change, increased demand, and advances in extractive technologies.

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