Impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on biodiversity conservation

It is too early to evaluate the overall impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on biodiversity and our ability to protect it, but some preliminary conclusions are possible. At this point, protected areas appear to be safe and, in many places, biodiversity is benefitting from reduced human activities. However, this may not be true everywhere, especially where enforcement has weakened but threats have not. Research has been disrupted, but only time will tell if this will have long-term consequences. We are concerned for the training and careers of young conservation scientists, but the lasting effects of the pandemic on these will depend, in part, on how we and our institutions respond to these concerns. Finally, although we focus here on conservation, this is first and foremost a human tragedy, disrupting lives and killing far too many people. Society’s priorities must be human health and the containment of the pandemic, but we also need to be thinking ahead to the resumption of conservation practice and education. There is an opportunity here to remind people of the links between healthy, resilient ecosystems and human well-being.

Corlett, R.T., Primack, R.B., Devictor, V., Maas, B., Goswami, V.R., Bates, A.E., PinKoh, L., Regan, T.J., Loyola, R., Pakeman, R.J., Cumming, G.S., Pidgeon, A., Johns, D., Roth,R., 2020. Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Biodiversity Conservation.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108571.