The goal of the study was to analyze threats to biodiversity, identify ways and regions in which progress is being made, and prescribe policy improvements for each region studied.

The Asia-Pacific report featured grave warnings about marine life. Researchers expressed concerns about mounting threats to coral reefs, and warned “unsustainable aquaculture practices, overfishing, and destructive harvesting, threaten coastal and marine ecosystems, with projections that, if current fishing practices continue, there will be no exploitable fish stocks in the region by 2048.”

In assessments for both Africa and the Americas, researchers noted that anthropogenic climate change will be a major driver of biodiversity loss over the next 30 years. They also emphasized the need to incorporate knowledge and practices from local indigenous populations into broader policies.

The Europe and Central Asia report also proposed intergration of indigenous knowledge. This assessment emphasized the region’s troubling land-use practices, noting the need for more sustainable agricultural and foresty practices.

“Although there are no ‘silver bullets’ or ‘one-size-fits all’ answers,” Watson acknowledged, “the best options in all four regional assessments are found in better governance, integrating biodiversity concerns into sectoral policies and practices (e.g. agriculture and energy), the application of scientific knowledge and technology, increased awareness, and behavioral changes.”

The study’s main conclusion, he said, is that “we must act to halt and reverse the unsustainable use of nature—or risk not only the future we want, but even the lives we currently lead. Fortunately, the evidence also shows that we know how to protect and partially restore our vital natural assets.”

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