Over recent decades, biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction have both become international societal and political goals. There is recognition of the links between these two goals both within the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Millennium Development Goals. However, the causal relationships are not so simple either that one can say poverty causes biodiversity loss, or improvements in biodiversity reduce poverty. This suggests a need to be more specific in defining what types of poverty and biodiversity issues are being assessed.
Two “state of knowledge” reviews were commissioned to explore the evidence base for two common assumptions about the link between biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction: 1) that the poor depend on biodiversity; and 2) that biodiversity conservation can be a mechanism for poverty reduction. These attempt to tease apart the issues of what type of poverty and what type of biodiversity are being assessed.
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