May 2019
Vol 5, Issue 5

About The Cover

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ONLINE COVER In an editorial for Science Advances, Dr. Thomas Lovejoy heralds a feat of data gathering and analysis: the first official report of the International Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This comprehensive assessment of the world's ecosystems is bleak. Once healthy biological communities that provided critical services to humans are greatly threatened. Among other findings, 75% of Earth's terrestrial environment, 40% of the marine environment, and 50% of streams and rivers have experienced extreme alteration from changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of natural resources, climate change, and other threats. The first IPBES report will advocate wide-scale transformational change in environmental policy by illustrating both what we as a planet have already lost and what more we stand to lose. The messages in the IPBES report are reinforced in the 19 April Science Advances study, "A Global Deal For Nature: Guiding principles, milestones, and targets." In this work, the international scientists who proposed the Global Deal for Nature (GDN), an ambitious plan that aims to help ensure climate targets are met while species are conserved, lay out specific targets for this effort, first defined in 2017. Among the targets is protection of 30% of terrestrial Earth by 2030. "Linking the GDN and the Paris Agreement could solve the two major challenges facing the biosphere and all the species within it and result in a return to safe operating space for humanity," the authors say. [CREDIT: GREG ASNER AND NICK VAUGHN, ASU CENTER FOR GLOBAL DISCOVERY AND CONSERVATION SCIENCE]