SDG 15

Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss
The fifteenth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)

Life On Land

Aims to “Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss”.

Let's learn a little more about SDG 15.

  • Targets 12 Targets
  • Campaigns 7 Campaigns
  • Pledges 6890 Pledges
  • Actions Uploaded 7309 Actions Taken
  • Reading Material 21 Reading Material
  • Quiz 7 Quiz
  • Overview
  • Facts & Figures
  • Targets

Why Is It Important To sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss?

Nature and environment is critical to survival of all lives. They provide oxygen for survival, regulate weather patterns, pollinate crops, produce food, feed and fibre. Nature and the environment are, however, under increasing pressure and stress, mainly due to human activity. Human activity has affected nearly 75% of the earth’s surface, and is squeezing wildlife and nature into an ever-increasing smaller corner of the planet. Deforestation, species extinction are just two of the many negative impacts on nature and the environment.

The goal of ‘Life on Land’ is critical towards supporting healthy ecosystems, which in turn keep people and all forms of life healthy. Involvement of local communities is a key aspect towards developing and managing such healthy ecosystems.

What Progress Has Been Made So Far In Terms of sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation, halting biodiversity loss?

  • As of February 2019, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, had been ratified by 116 Contracting Parties, including the European Union, an increase of 65% from 2016. 
  • Further, 61 Parties had also adopted access and benefit-sharing (ABS) frameworks and published related information in the ABS Clearing-House, a rise from 6 Parties in 2016. 
  • 145 Parties had ratified the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Under the treaty, over 64,000 standard Material Transfer agreements have been concluded for transferring more than 4.6 million samples of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture worldwide.

How Can I As An Individual Apply Sustainable Human Behaviour To Achieve These Targets For SDG 15 To Help Achieve The Goal Of Life on Land?

  • Avoid buying or using products that have been made illegally from wildlife.
  • Buy products made by local and indigenous artisans to provide for their livelihood.
  • Grow plants and trees in one’s locality to increase the strength of the land and protect the land/soil against any erosion.
  • Avoid using pesticides, insecticides and chemical fertilizers which degrade the soil quality for vegetation growing on it.
  • Consume only what is required by us.
  • Consume a locally-based diet that is sustainably sourced.
  • Never litter, especially in the mountains, nature trails, hikes, water bodies, etc. If you see any litter in the mountains / water bodies, pick it up and dispose it off properly.

Did You Know These Facts About SDG 15 – Life on Land?

  • 75%

    Human activity has altered almost 75 percent of the earth’s surface, squeezing wildlife and nature into an ever-smaller corner of the planet and increasing risks of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19.

  • 1.6 Billion

    Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, including 70 million indigenous people.

  • 80%

    Forests are home to more than 80 percent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.

  • 3.3 Million

    Between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. Poor rural women depend on common pool resources and are especially affected by their depletion.

  • 23%

    Currently, land degradation has reduced productivity in 23 percent of the global terrestrial area, and between $235 billion and $577 billion in annual global crop output is at risk as a result of pollinator loss.

  • 30 to

    Arable land loss is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate.

  • 12 Million

    Due to drought and desertification, 12 million hectares are lost each year (23 hectares per minute). Within one year, 20 million tons of grain could have been grown.

  • 74%

    74 per cent of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally.

  • 30%

    Habitat loss and deterioration, largely caused by human actions, have reduced global terrestrial habitat integrity by 30 per cent relative to an unimpacted baseline.

  • 7000

    Illicit poaching and trafficking of wildlife continues to thwart conservation efforts, with nearly 7,000 species of animals and plants reported in illegal trade involving 120 countries.

  • 22%

    Of the 8,300 animal breeds known, 8 per cent are extinct and 22 per cent are at risk of extinction.

  • 1%

    Of the over 80,000 tree species, less than 1 per cent have been studied for potential use.

  • 20%

    Fish provide 20 percent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Only ten species provide about 30 percent of marine capture fisheries and ten species provide about 50 per cent of aquaculture production.

  • 80%

    Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. Only three cereal crops – rice, maize and wheat – provide 60 percent of energy intake.

  • 80%

    As many as 80 percent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-¬‐based medicines for basic healthcare.

  • 15%

    While protected areas now cover 15 percent of terrestrial and freshwater environments and 7 per cent of the marine realm, they only partly cover important sites for biodiversity and are not yet fully ecologically representative and effectively or equitably managed.

Targets For SDG 15 – Life on Land Set By The United Nations

  • By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.

    Target 15.1
  • By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally.

    Target 15.2
  • By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.

    Target 15.3
  • By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.

    Target 15.4
  • Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.

    Target 15.5
  • Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed.

    Target 15.6
  • Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products.

    Target 15.7
  • By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species.

    Target 15.8
  • By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.

    Target 15.9
  • Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems.

    Target 15.A
  • Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation.

    Target 15.B
  • Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities.

    Target 15.C

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