Building evidence on how biodiversity affects poverty

There is an explicit assumption that reducing the rate of biodiversity loss can help in efforts to tackle global poverty. But the evidence for this assumption is surprisingly weak. This project aimed to review the existing evidence base, identify knowledge gaps and make evidence more widely available.

2013 - 2015
Dilys Roe

Principal researcher and team leader (biodiversity), Natural Resources

Conservation, communities and equity
A programme of work showing how IIED is building capacity to understand and implement equitable conservation and enhance community voice in conservation policymaking

Ladeh Panjang Wetlands. Photo: Luke Mackin

IIED and the UN Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre worked together to map the evidence base on how biodiversity affects poverty through the production of a “systematic map” of existing studies. This included peer-reviewed publications, (which have been evaluated by professionals in the field), and grey literature, (informally published written material, such as reports).

Our map highlights the geographic coverage of current studies, the components of biodiversity that have been explored and the dimensions of poverty that have been addressed. A database of the studies included is published on the Poverty and Conservation Learning Group's website to enable other researchers to conduct further analyses.

Our methodology and findings were first published in Environmental Evidence and have been brought together in the IIED research report 'Biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction: what's the connection? A systematic mapping of the evidence'. They are summarised in the IIED Briefing 'Poverty and biodiversity: evidence about nature and the nature of evidence'.

This project built on the outputs from an international conference at the Zoological Society of London. The conference brought together leading experts to assess the state of knowledge on biodiversity-poverty linkages and to explore the impacts of different conservation interventions across different ecological contexts. 'Biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation: exploring the evidence for a link' is published by Wiley.