Narratives for the “Half Earth” and “Sharing The Planet” scenarios
A literature review

09-09-2020 | Rapport

As many conservation proposals are being debated in the context of the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021, this report presents qualitative narratives and a literature review for two alternative conservation and agricultural scenarios: Half Earth (HE) and Sharing the Planet (SP). These two scenarios represent our interpretation of the current academic and societal debate around conservation and agriculture and they offer two possible ways to envision positive nature futures. These scenarios take inspiration from previous scenarios exercises made by PBL, namely the three alternative pathways (Global Technology, Decentralized Solution, Consumption Change) developed in the post-Rio context and further elaborated with a model-based analysis.

In this report, we present the qualitative narratives for both scenarios and a literature review on topics of conservation, agriculture and governance mechanisms that provides the background to these narratives. Particular attention is given to elaborating theoretical premises for each scenarios: topics of values of nature and human-nature relationship are thus central to this report. To address these latter points, the report draws on previous PBL work on nature’s perspective in the European context and on IPBES work on values of nature.

Photo of shared landscape
A shared landscape

Half of the Earth: conserving wilderness and intensifying food production

Half Earth (HE) scenarios draws upon recent proposals, such as that of E.O Wilson, Nature Needs Half and the Global Deal for Nature. Under this scenario, nature is protected for its intrinsic value and conservation is envisioned to separate humans pressures from nature, halt species loss, retain ecological processes and protect wilderness. Expansion of Protected Areas will be the main conservation strategy in order to cover around 50% of the earth surface by 2050. Agriculture undergoes a process of intensification in order to spare land for nature, increase food production and reduce environmental externalities.

Sharing the Planet: bridging humans and nature in shared landscape

Sharing the Planet (SP) scenario aims at combining mainstream ecosystem services and landscape approaches to conservation with more radical approaches, such as that of Convivial Conservation. Under this scenario, natural and human systems are integrated to form shared and multifunctional landscapes where nature is conserved for its instrumental as well as relational values. Sustainable use of resources and the optimization of nature’s contribution to people are the focus of this scenario. The agricultural system is ecologically intensified by means of different approaches, such as agroecology, agroforestry, organic agriculture.

This study is part of the PBL CBD Post-2020 project which aimed at assessing via a model-based analysis the Half Earth and Sharing the Planet scenarios and how they can be implemented in a way that would allow to achieve, at the same time, food security and climate targets. They project has produced a scientific paper that is currently under review.