Biosphere functional integrity for people and Planet


Defining a safe and just biosphere space requires a synthetic scaleable measure of biosphere functional integrity to secure Nature’s Contributions to People (NCP). Using a systematic review of 153 peer-reviewed studies we estimated the minimum level of functional integrity needed to secure multiple critical NCP, including pollination, pest and disease control, water quality regulation, soil protection, recreation and natural hazards mitigation in human-modified landscapes. We characterise functional integrity by the quantity, quality and spatial configuration of (semi-)natural habitat within any landscape. We find that at least 20-25% of structurally complex and biologically diverse (semi-)natural habitat in each 1 km^2 of land area is needed to maintain the supply of multiple NCP simultaneously. Exact quantity, quality and spatial configuration required is dependent on local context, and may differ for individual NCP. Today, about 50-60% of human-modified lands have less than 10% and 20% (semi-)natural habitat per 1 km^2 respectively. These areas require immediate attention to regenerate functional integrity in order to secure ecological functioning in those landscapes.

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