Goal 15 is about conserving life on land. It is to protect and restore terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation and stop biodiversity loss. Healthy ecosystems and the biological diversity they support are a source of food, water, medicine, shelter, and other material goods. They also provide ecosystem services – the cleaning of air and water – which sustain life and increase resiliency in the face of mounting pressures.
Nevertheless, human activities have profoundly altered most terrestrial ecosystems: around 40,000 species are documented to be at risk of extinction over the coming decades, 10 million hectares of forest (an area the size of Iceland) are being destroyed each year, and more than half of key biodiversity areas remain unprotected.
Facts and Figures
*Forest cover fell from 31.9 percent of total land area in 2000 to 31.2 percent in 2020, a net loss of almost 100 million hectares.
*Agricultural expansion is driving almost 90 percent of global deforestation, including 49.6 percent from expansion for cropland and 38.5 percent for livestock grazing.
*Between 2010 and 2021, the area of forest land under certification schemes increased by 35 percent. The proportion of forests under a long-term management plan increased from 54 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2020.
*More than 700 million hectares of forest (18 percent) were in legally established protected areas in 2020.
*Human activities such as logging and farming are encroaching upon habitats, putting about 20 percent of reptile species at risk.
*Globally, the mean percentage coverage of key biodiversity areas increased from over one quarter in 2000 to nearly one-half in 2021.
*More and more countries are establishing national targets for incorporating ecosystem and biodiversity values into their accounting and reporting systems. By January 2022, 37 percent of countries assessed are on track to achieve or exceed their national targets.
Goal 15 targets
15.1 By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains, and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements
15.2 By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore degraded forests and substantially increase afforestation and reforestation globally
15.3 By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought, and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world
15.4 By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development
15.5 Take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species
15.6 Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed
15.7 Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both the demand and supply of illegal wildlife products
15.8 By 2020, introduce measures to prevent the introduction and significantly reduce the impact of invasive alien species on land and water ecosystems and control or eradicate the priority species
15.9 By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies, and accounts
15. A Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems
15. B Mobilize significant resources from all sources and at all levels to finance sustainable forest management and provide adequate incentives to developing countries to advance such management, including for conservation and reforestation
15. C Enhance global support for efforts to combat poaching and trafficking of protected species, including by increasing the capacity of local communities to pursue sustainable livelihood opportunities