The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has launched a new inquiry, Biodiversity and Ecosystems, that will consider how best to protect and enhance biodiversity while considering nature-based solutions to climate change.
Decline in biodiversity
The inquiry launch comes at a time when biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history, and 15% of species in the UK are threatened with extinction. This is due to a number of factors, including climate change, urbanisation, pollution, invasive non-native species and aspects of agricultural and woodland management.
Limiting this decline is crucial as healthy ecosystems are vital for human existence, providing food, energy, sustaining air quality and being the sole sinks absorbing carbon emissions.
Factors to be considered
The Committee’s inquiry will consider a range of factors, ranging from the state of UK biodiversity, how ecosystems can be protected and maintained and how nature-based solutions to climate change can complement biodiversity. It will have concluded its inquiry by the time of the now-postponed Biodiversity COP scheduled before COP26 next year.
Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne, said: “From plant life to insects, from invertebrates to mammals, each species plays an important role in the health of ecosystems around the country. Sadly, we have a growing list of species threatened with extinction; such as the water vole being an ‘ecosystem engineer’ generating new plant growth, and hedgehogs being an indicator of how healthy ecosystems are. Maintaining their numbers is crucial if we are to continue living healthy lives. Healthy ecosystems play an important role in food security, air quality and natural solutions to absorbing harmful emissions. During this inquiry, the Committee will be considering the current state of the UK’s biodiversity, how we can prevent any further loss, and the opportunities for nature-based solutions for climate change.”