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An agenda for research and action towards diverse and just futures for life on Earth

Wyborn, C., Montana, J., Kalas, N. , Clement, S., Davila Cisneros, F., Knowles, N., Louder, E., Balan, M., Chambers, J., Christel, L., Forsyth, T., Henderson, G., Izquierdo Tort, S., Lim, M., Martinez-Harms, M., Merçon, J., Nuesiri, E., Pereira, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-4996-7234, Pilbeam, V., Turnhout, E., Wood, S. & Ryan, M. (2020). An agenda for research and action towards diverse and just futures for life on Earth. Conservation Biology, doi: 10.1111/cobi.13671


Decades of research and policy interventions on biodiversity have insufficiently addressed the dual issues of biodiversity degradation and social justice. New approaches are therefore needed. This essay outlines a research and action agenda that calls for a collective task of 'revisiting biodiversity' towards the goal of sustaining diverse and just futures for life on Earth. The agenda was developed through a two-year dialogue process that involved close to 300 experts from diverse disciplines and geographies. This process was informed by social science insights that have shown that biodiversity research and action is underpinned by choices about how problems are conceptualized. Recognizing knowledge, action, and ethics as inseparable, we synthesize a set of principles that help navigate the task of 'revisiting biodiversity'. The agenda articulates four thematic areas for future research. First, the need to revisit biodiversity narratives by challenging conceptualizations that exclude diversity and entrench the separation of humans, cultures, economies, and societies from nature. Second, embracing a focus on the relationships between the anthropocene, biodiversity, and culture by considering humanity and biodiversity as tied together in specific contexts. Third, focusing on nature and economy by better accounting for the interacting structures of economic and financial systems as core drivers of biodiversity loss. Finally, enabling transformative biodiversity research and action by re-configuring relationships between human and non-human communities in and through science, policy, and practice. Revisiting biodiversity necessitates a renewed focus on dialogue among biodiversity communities and beyond that critically reflects on the past to channel research and action towards fostering just and diverse futures for human and non-human life on Earth. Article impact statement: Placing diversity and justice at the heart of transformative change for biodiversity offers important new directions for research and action. This article is protected by copyright.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Anthropocene, biodiversity research, diversity, futures, justice, narratives, transformative change
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Q Science > QH Natural history
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
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