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The Bioeconomy–Biodiversity Nexus: Enhancing or Undermining Nature’s Contributions to People?

Bastos Lima, M.G. and Palme, U. (2022). The Bioeconomy–Biodiversity Nexus: Enhancing or Undermining Nature’s Contributions to People? Conservation 2 (1), 7-25.

Abstract

Bioeconomy has become fundamental for a post-fossil-resources society, in line with climate change mitigation ambitions. Although it does not have a single, consensual definition, the bioeconomy encompasses various bio-based value chains and economic activities relying on biodiversity. How these burgeoning developments may affect biodiversity, however, still needs further examination. This article explores the bioeconomy–biodiversity nexus through the lens of nature’s contributions to people (NCPs). Drawing from the bioeconomy literature and Amazonian experiences, we argue that the bioeconomy may: (i) help conserve or restore habitats, (ii) improve knowledge on biodiversity, (iii) valorize livelihoods and increase social participation, and (iv) aid in moving beyond the commodification of nature. However, none of these achievements can be taken for granted. To date, the bioeconomy has focused mainly on extracting goods from nature (e.g., food, energy, or biochemicals), often at the expense of NCPs that require integral ecosystems and are decisive for a sustainable society in the longer run. Moreover, we assert that it is critical to discern the beneficiaries of various contributions, as “people”, in reality, are composed of distinct groups that relate differently to nature and have different preferences regarding trade-offs. The NCPs framework can help broaden synergies in the bioeconomy–biodiversity nexus, but inclusive governance remains critical.

 

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