Life on Land
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Forests cover 30.7 per cent of the Earth’s surface and, in addition to providing food security and shelter, they are key to combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and the homes of the indigenous population. By protecting forests, we will also be able to strengthen natural resource management and increase land productivity.
At the current time, thirteen million hectares of forests are being lost every year while the persistent degradation of drylands has led to the desertification of 3.6 billion hectares. Even though up to 15% of land is currently under protection, biodiversity is still at risk. Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty.
Efforts are being made to manage forests and combat desertification. There are two international agreements being implemented currently that promote the use of resources in an equitable way. Financial investments in support of biodiversity are also being provided.
This Goal and Architecture
The amount of buildings, settlements and cities taking up land is rapidly growing.
Ecosystems and biodiversity are under intense pressure due to growing cities and settlements, farming, mining and the changing climate. To protect, restore and support ecosystems and biodiversity, buildings and settlements must include habitats for plants, insects and animals. This means that green-field developments should be kept to a minimum and that planning and development of all new settlements must ensure sustainable conditions for local ecosystems, flora and fauna. Nature networks that allow plant life should be developed in existing settlements and urban areas, so that insects and animals can co-exist with the built environment. Examples are found at all scales, from pocket parks and insect hotels to large-scale planning projects to establish nature networks in big cities.
Furthermore, the building industry can help promote sustainable forestry and combat deforestation by using wood only from sustainable sources and by generally using materials that are renewable and sustainably pro- duced and which do not compromise biodiversity and natural habitats for flora and fauna. Local flora and fauna must form the basis of landscape design in buildings and settlements, including lawns and interior greenery, so that the plants will interact with and support local ecosystems.
Finally, buildings placed carefully in vulnerable ecosystems or in wild-life-parks can add to their preservation through sustainable tourism and raised public awareness.
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