Biodiversity Loss in the UK

by Jackie-Ray on October 4, 2016 - 12:01am

The article by Susan Clark provides shocking highlights from this year’s “State of Nature” report. I am surprised to learn that the UK is so far behind on addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The UK has always maintained a lot of power, thus they must have the capacity to work harder towards these. Yet, the UK experiences high rates of decline among a vast number of species populations. Unless the serious action for conserving the nation’s biodiversity is immediate, the fate of nature and those that depend on it are grim.


Species populations are very dynamic, which make them hard to understand. Uncertainty is problematic for making policy decisions. Agriculture seems to be the main culprit for the loss of biodiversity, though the impact of climate change cannot be ignored. Many factors contribute to declining biodiversity. Incorporating climate change makes it more complicated to understand the problem because it has mixed implications across populations. However, it seems enough groups are pressuring the state about these factors so that they should not go unaddressed.


The state role is critical in developing policies to protect what diversity is left and to eradicate policies that permit it. The UK government’s control over practices is likely to of fueled intensive resource use that led to this phenomenon. Some aquatic species are a renewable flow resource under threat from resource management methods. The state is supposed to set these priorities. Unfortunately, conserving nature has not been at the top of the list, since the number of funds for conservation efforts have decreased.


The focus for a solution is on the success of multiple organizations, including companies for profit and not, government and nongovernment, combining their efforts. The UK should not rely only on the state to solve their problems, though, because many stakeholders are involved and input is necessary. A lot of hope also exists from volunteers that track species because this information becomes the basis for where to improve. With help from those monitoring and assessing species populations, a starting point for how to protect a given species is achieved. This way, management can improve because the goal to recover biodiversity is clear and funding is more justifiable. I feel fairly confident that the UK can strengthen their commitment to the UN Sustainable Development goals with the number of passionate citizens getting involved.


Source: Clark, S. (2016). State of nature 2016 report shows continued loss of Britain's biodiversity. Retrieved from



Do you think the lack of response from the UK to the UN Sustainable Development goals is due the UN's lack of power over the countries? The UN has not achieved any real goals that they have set out to do in the past which leads to uncertainty about their ability to yield power. Having goals is only the first set toward change we need to implement a plan.

I believe that incorporating climate change into the loss of biodiversity is too complicated because it is a wicked problem (there is no correct solution, different stakeholder views, there is uncertainty, and the problem gets worse the longer you wait).

Finally, biodiversity loss is usually due to extraction of resources for refinement and production, how can we protect biodiversity while maintaining extraction for the sake of our economy? This is the constant struggle for developed countries who depend on development of resources.