Linking Biodiversity and Climate: Resources from BiodiversityLinks and Climatelinks

The COP28 theme on December 9, 2023 was Nature, Land Use, and Oceans. Healthy, biodiverse ecosystems provide goods and services critical to human well-being and resilience, including those that support climate change adaptation and mitigation. But nature is in crisis–the world is experiencing unprecedented rates of ecological loss and environmental degradation.

Climate change poses a direct threat to biodiversity through stressors such as higher temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, and ocean acidification. Nature-based solutions to climate change, like land use planning and sustainable forest management, can help conserve biodiverse ecosystems while addressing the climate crisis. 

USAID recognizes the critical role healthy ecosystems can play to address climate change by absorbing carbon, reducing disaster risk, supporting livelihoods, and improving food and water security. Achieving these objectives, which are outlined in USAID’s Climate Strategy

The draft updated policy, which envisions a future in which biodiversity is conserved so people and nature can thrive, is available for public review and comment through January 5, 2024. It provides an approach for how the Agency will work to achieve nature-positive, equitable development across societal systems and has two goals: (1) conserve biodiversity in priority places, and (2) catalyze nature-positive, equitable development. 

Given the important overlap between biodiversity and climate change, BiodiversityLinks and Climatelinks are taking this opportunity to highlight resources that explore the connections between biodiversity conservation and climate programming. Climatelinks is USAID’s global knowledge portal for climate and development practitioners. Climatelinks curates and archives technical guidance, events, blogs, photos, and other knowledge related to USAID’s work to help countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Below are some climate-related resources to help conservation and development practitioners understand how biodiversity conservation intersects with climate change.

How USAID Is Improving Climate Resilience of Biodiversity Programming

USAID and its partners strive to conserve biodiversity and address climate change while also achieving humanitarian and development objectives across sectors. Indigenous Peoples and local communities are critical to conserving ecosystems and sustainably managing natural resources. This story explores how USAID is working to improve the climate resilience of its biodiversity programming. 

Health, Ecosystems, and Agriculture for Resilient, Thriving Societies (HEARTH) 

USAID’s HEARTH activity portfolio engages private sector partners to collaboratively implement integrated sustainable development activities that conserve high-biodiversity landscapes and improve the well-being and prosperity of communities that depend on these landscapes. They are working to address the intertwined crises of climate change and biodiversity loss by promoting climate adaptation and resilience, climate-smart agricultural practices, and nature-based solutions that sequester carbon dioxide and protect communities from the impacts of climate-related weather events. 

Ecosystem-based Adaptation Approach

Ecosystem-based Adaptation is a nature-based method for climate change adaptation that can reduce the vulnerability of societies and economies to climate stressors. This method provides flexible and cost-effective approaches that enhance resilience through the improved management and conservation of ecosystems. It can be an effective adaptation strategy alone or as an element of broader national, regional, and community adaptation plans.

Read the draft updated Biodiversity Policy and add your feedback here.

This blog was originally posted on Climatelinks as a collaboration during COP28.