Goal 15: Life on Land

Visualisations on global trends

This page provides a selection of visualisations on global trends for Sustainable Development Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. All visualisations use the latest official data from the United Nations SDG Global Database.

Target 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

Indicators:

15.1.1Forest area as a proportion of total land area
15.1.2Proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas, by ecosystem type

Over the past two decades, the world’s forest area has declined from 31.9% of total land area in 2000 to 31.2% 2020. The main driver behind global deforestation is the conversion of forest into agricultural use, including the expansion of croplands and areas for livestock grazing. This is particularly the case in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, where forest coverage has declined by 8% and 10% respectively.

Substantial progress has been made in expanding the coverage of terrestrial and freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), which are areas classified as contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity. As of 2021, the world average coverage rate stood at around 44% for both freshwater and terrestrial KBAs.

All regions have made progress in increasing their coverage rates over the past two decades, with Europe and Northern America having the highest degree of protection in 2021.

Note that the regional groupings used in the visualisation above (and all other visualisations on this page with regional data) follow the UN regional classification for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Target 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

Indicators:

15.2.1Progress towards sustainable forest management

This indicator is composed of five sub-indicators measuring various dimensions of sustainable forest management:

  1. Annual forest area change rate
  2. Above-ground biomass in forest
  3. Proportion of forest area within legally established protected areas
  4. Proportion of forest area under a long-term management plan
  5. Forest area under an independently verified forest management certification scheme

Despite the overall decline in forest area as highlighted in target 15.1, an overall assessment of the five sub-indicators shows that there has been considerable progress worldwide towards sustainable forest management. In particular, the share of world forests within legally protected areas as well as forest areas under long-term management plans has increased in almost all regions. In 2020, 58% of world forest areas were under a long-term management plan, up from 52% in 2000 and 56% in 2015.

Target 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

Indicators:

15.3.1Proportion of land that is degraded over total land area

Insufficient data are available for assessment of progress at the global or regional level.

Target 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

Indicators:

15.4.1Coverage by protected areas of important sites for mountain biodiversity
15.4.2Mountain Green Cover Index

Worldwide protection levels of mountain Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) have increased steadily over the past two decades, although the pace of increase has slowed in the past few years. As of 2021, some 60% of mountain KBAs were still unprotected.

The most recent data from 2020 on the Mountain Green Cover Index, a measure of changes in green vegetation in mountain areas, show that coverage worldwide was approximately unchanged since 2015.

Target 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

Indicators:

15.5.1Red List Index

The Red List Index measures trends in overall extinction risk for species, and shows a worldwide deterioration in species extinction risk between 2000 and 2022, with the index falling 9% from 0.80 to 0.72. An index value of 1.0 equates to all species being classified as Least Concern, while an index value of 0 equates to all species being extinct.

While the index varies between regions, deterioration was observed in all regions over the last two decades.

Target 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

Indicators:

15.6.1Number of countries that have adopted legislative, administrative and policy frameworks to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits

The indicator consists of 4 policy sub-indicators:

  • Countries that are Contracting Parties to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  • Countries that are Parties to the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Countries that have legislative, administrative and policy measures reported through the Online Reporting System on Compliance of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  • Countries that have legislative, administrative or policy measures reported to the Access and Benefit-Sharing Clearing-House of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

A fifth sub-indicator is also included, concerning the number, by country, of Standard Material Transfer Agreements (SMTAs) transferring plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. (This is a cumulative figure per country and not assessed further).

Worldwide adoption of the four policy frameworks has made good progress over the past years, with all four sub-indicators seeing an increase in country adoption in recent years.

Target 15.7

Take urgent action to end poaching and trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna and address both demand and supply of illegal wildlife products

Indicators:

15.7.1Proportion of traded wildlife that was poached or illicitly trafficked

Global trends

Insufficient data are available for assessment of progress at the global or regional level.

Target 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

Indicators:

15.8.1Proportion of countries adopting relevant national legislation and adequately resourcing the prevention or control of invasive alien species

This target is measured through three policy sub-indicators:

  • the existence of Legislation, Regulation, Act related to the prevention of introduction and management of invasive alien species (IAS)
  • the existence of National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan targets alignment to Aichi Biodiversity Target (ABT) number 9
  • countries with an allocation from the national budget to manage the threat of invasive alien species

Almost all countries (98%) have national legislation to prevent the introduction and management of invasive alien species, while the share of countries aligning their national targets with global targets is also high (84%) and increasing. As regards budget allocations, 55% of countries reported that they made allocations in 2020 from national budgets.

Target 15.9

By 2020, integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts

Indicators:

15.9.1(a) Number of countries that have established national targets in accordance with or similar to Aichi Biodiversity Target 2 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 in their national biodiversity strategy and action plans and the progress reported towards these targets; and (b) integration of biodiversity into national accounting and reporting systems, defined as implementation of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting

As of 2022, the majority of countries have established national targets in line with the Aichi Biodiversity Target 2. However, progress towards the targets varies considerably. Only 50 countries are on track to achieve or exceed their national targets, while the remaining are either not improving at a sufficient rate, moving away from the targets or have no target at all.

Globally, there has been a steady increase in the number of countries integrating biodiversity values into their national accounting and reporting systems.

Target 15.a

Mobilize and significantly increase financial resources from all sources to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity and ecosystems

Indicators:

15.a.1(a) Official development assistance on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and (b) revenue generated and finance mobilized from biodiversity-relevant economic instruments

While the target sets out a commitment to increase support to developing countries for biodiversity, there is no set numerical target.

The latest data shows that total aid commitments for biodiversity have declined over recent years in absolute terms and stood at 7.2 billion USD in 2020. This is slightly higher than in 2019, but lower than from 2015-2018.

No data is available on the revenue generated and finance mobilized from biodiversity-relevant economic instruments.

Target 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

Indicators:

15.b.1(a) Official development assistance on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; and (b) revenue generated and finance mobilized from biodiversity-relevant economic instruments

This target is measured through the same indicator as target 15.a.

Target 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

Indicators:

15.c.1Proportion of traded wildlife that was poached or illicitly trafficked

Insufficient data are available for assessment of progress at the global or regional level.

About the data

The data presented on global, regional, and national trends are from the UN SDG Global Database.

Changelog

  • First release 25 November 2022.

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