6.3 Drivers

Drivers of environmental change – population demography, urbanization, economic development, technology and innovation, and climate change (see Chapter 2) – impose multiple negative impacts on biodiversity, leading to loss of genetic diversity, population declines that have pushed some species towards a heightened risk of extinction, and the reshaping of natural communities, with ramifications for the stability and functioning of ecosystems (Figure 6.2). While most drivers are projected to increase, climate change is likely to become the dominant driver of biodiversity change in the next few decades (Leadley et al. 2014; Newbold et al. 2015). Ultimately, reducing pressures on biodiversity will require addressing these drivers of change.

Figure 6.2: Interconnections between people, biodiversity, ecosystem health and provision of ecosystem services showing drivers and pressures
Source: World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) et al. (2012).