Plant and wildlife conservation

Summary of the issue:

Plant and wildlife conservation

The negative impacts of human actions on the planet’s flora and fauna are well known. According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2018, population sizes of wildlife decreased by 60% globally between 1970 and 2014. Many of these losses are the result of direct harm from humans through hunting and poaching, but many others result indirectly through the destruction of the forests, savannahs, grasslands, and aquatic ecosystems that these creatures inhabit. Human activity can also lead to the introduction of invasive species that can drastically change the composition of entire ecosystems.

The protection of plant and animal life is a central tenet of many sustainability standards, certifications and related supply chain tools. Some programmes provide participants with training on plant and wildlife identification and conservation. Others require participants to conduct wildlife inventories on their lands, with special actions to be taken if rare species or their habitats are found. Often, hunting on participant land is prohibited, though exceptions sometimes exist for indigenous peoples or traditional community use.

When it comes to battling habitat loss, sustainability standards and related tools employ diverse strategies. Many agricultural programmes promote agroforestry or wild-collection systems, in which crops are grown under a canopy of trees that provide a layer of habitat, or ingredients are collected from the wild with careful attention that harvest and regeneration rates are sustainable over time. Some standards encourage or require diversified farming systems and promote peripheral natural features such as vegetated riparian buffers or other pockets of natural areas are usually required to enhance available habitat and connect natural areas. Some programmes also require actions to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species.

Some resources that examine the impact of standards, certifications and related supply chain tools on plant and wildlife conservation are as follows:

Available evidence

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Plant and wildlife conservation
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