Published on
June 27, 2021

Let’s Talk About ‘Net Zero for Nature’

The UK Govt has recently announced action to help stop the decline of biodiversity by 2030. NatureMetrics applauds this “Net Zero for Nature”. However, we are mindful that the effectiveness with which these reforms are implemented and monitored will determine the extent to which they produce real progress.

 min read
Let’s Talk About ‘Net Zero for Nature’

The UK Govt has recently announced action to help stop the decline of biodiversity by 2030. NatureMetrics applauds this “Net Zero for Nature”, but key to its delivery will be effective implementation and monitoring of progress.  

The Environment Secretary, George Eustice, recently delivered a historic speech outlining proposals to conserve and restore nature, address the climate and biodiversity crises, and help achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. According to the announcement, the amendments to the eagerly anticipated Environment Bill will set firm goals to stop the deterioration of biodiversity in both urban and rural areas.

The government refers to this as the “Net Zero equivalent for nature” and while this falls short of the emerging ambition for ‘Nature Positive’ demanded by leading companies and conservation NGOs, it will provide a legally binding target for the next ten years.  

The announcement set out some specific action plans for peat, trees and species, which are framed as the first step in efforts to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss in the terrestrial environment. While the intentions are promising, detailed implementation plans, effective monitoring and adaptive management will be key to delivery.  

At NatureMetrics we are strong believers in the saying ‘that which is measured improves,’ and we use DNA technologies to deliver biodiversity monitoring at scale to enable adaptive management of ecosystems. Net Zero for Nature is a bold statement and a commendable aspiration, but it will present complexities that far exceed the Net Zero Carbon calculation. Carbon is one molecule, but biodiversity is millions of species. Biodiversity monitoring needs to move beyond the study of a few taxa, to evaluating whole systems of species using methods that are standardised and repeatable.  The approach needs to be sensitive to change so as to inform adaptive management but be flexible enough to operate at a scale that produces meaningful metrics for both land managers and policy makers.  

Later this year we will see world leaders set new ambitions for biodiversity at the 15th Conference of the Parties in Kunming. Here at NatureMetrics we are already working with the Scottish government to build a blueprint for how eDNA can help nations better manage their assets and measure their progress toward global goals for nature. We are also a founding member of the UK Business and Biodiversity Forum, which aims to bring a unified business voice on the importance of nature to both UK and international policy forums.  

We are committed to doing our part to address the biodiversity crisis, by making it easy for managers and policy makers to generate data at the scale needed for evidence-based decision-making – but real change takes collective action. This announcement reinforces our determination to work closely with governments, businesses and environmental specialists to harness the power of eDNA technology to rebuild greener and give us the best chance as a nation to succeed in meeting these ambitious goals.

To find out more about our DNA based technology visit our infohub or visit our sector pages to see how this technology is being applied around the world.

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