New global report shows potential for farmers to provide vital ecosystem services

7 May 2019. Farmers have called for urgent governmental action to address climate change and declining ecosystem health as a new United Nations report warns that 1 million plant and animal species worldwide are now at risk of extinction.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, prepared by 150 leading international experts, identifies human activity and climate change as major drivers of biodiversity loss.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt said: “Farmers are passionate about their environment and dependent on healthy, functioning ecosystems. Declining biodiversity and failure to adequately value ecosystem services has major implications for our society’s health, well-being, and ability to carry on farming in order to feed ourselves.”

“Failure to take swift action on climate change will accelerate the damage to our ecosystems, and we demand that all sides of politics step forward to prevent these costly, irreplaceable losses.”

Goomalling farmer and Farmers for Climate Action Board member Christie Kingston said that farmers are a crucial part of the solution, and need stronger policy backing.

“Policies that incentivise farmers to reverse biodiversity loss, support ecosystem health and draw carbon into landscapes could benefit us, people in our region, our ecosystems, and future generations,” said Ms Kingston.

“Our legacy is in our hands. I want to look back in 2040, and be proud of the role agriculture played in reversing biodiversity loss and climate change. It’s time for a new vision for regional Australia.”

Third generation Roma grazier, Peter Thompson added that farmers and graziers are central to sustainable land management and industry must now be empowered to step forward.

“We’ve been managing biodiversity, sequestering carbon and consistently adjusting our practices on Echo Hills to be more sustainable for the past 70 years. This report is an urgent reminder that  all of us, from the paddock to the Parliament, must step forward to address climate change and biodiversity loss.”

Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of farmers, agricultural leaders and rural Australians working to ensure that farmers, who are on the frontlines of climate change, are part of the solution.

ENDS

Media inquiries: Fiona Davis, 0434 505 188, fiona@farmersforclimateaction.org.au

Additional information: https://www.ipbes.net/global-assessment-biodiversity-ecosystem-services