An agenda for research and action toward diverse and just futures for life on Earth

C. Wyborn*, J. Montana, N. Kalas, S. Clement, F. Davila, N. Knowles, E. Louder, M. Balan, J. Chambers, L. Christel, T. Forsyth, G. Henderson, S. Izquierdo Tort, M. Lim, M. J. Martinez-Harms, J. Merçon, E. Nuesiri, L. Pereira, V. Pilbeam, E. TurnhoutS. Wood, M. Ryan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Decades of research and policy interventions on biodiversity have insufficiently addressed the dual issues of biodiversity degradation and social justice. New approaches are therefore needed. We devised a research and action agenda that calls for a collective task of revisiting biodiversity toward the goal of sustaining diverse and just futures for life on Earth. Revisiting biodiversity involves critically reflecting on past and present research, policy, and practice concerning biodiversity to inspire creative thinking about the future. The agenda was developed through a 2-year dialogue process that involved close to 300 experts from diverse disciplines and locations. This process was informed by social science insights that show biodiversity research and action is underpinned by choices about how problems are conceptualized. Recognizing knowledge, action, and ethics as inseparable, we synthesized a set of principles that help navigate the task of revisiting biodiversity. The agenda articulates 4 thematic areas for future research. First, researchers need to revisit biodiversity narratives by challenging conceptualizations that exclude diversity and entrench the separation of humans, cultures, economies, and societies from nature. Second, researchers should focus on the relationships between the Anthropocene, biodiversity, and culture by considering humanity and biodiversity as tied together in specific contexts. Third, researchers should focus on nature and economies by better accounting for the interacting structures of economic and financial systems as core drivers of biodiversity loss. Finally, researchers should enable transformative biodiversity research and action by reconfiguring relationships between human and nonhuman communities in and through science, policy, and practice. Revisiting biodiversity necessitates a renewed focus on dialogue among biodiversity communities and beyond that critically reflects on the past to channel research and action toward fostering just and diverse futures for human and nonhuman life on Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1097
Number of pages12
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Anthropocene
  • Antropoceno
  • biodiversity research
  • cambio transformativo
  • diversidad
  • diversity
  • futures
  • futuro
  • investigación sobre la biodiversidad
  • justice
  • justicia
  • narrativas
  • narratives
  • transformative change


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