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Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies

Spring semester 2021

Linking Economic Growth to Biodiversity Loss in the Arctic.

Cengiz Akandil


Preparing a drone flight in the Arctic (© Cengiz Akandil )

Global biodiversity loss is increasing rapidly, with current species extinction rates likely to be 1000 times of the background rates (Pimm et al., 2014). Main drivers of biodiversity loss include land use changes, pollution, invasive alien species, climate change, and over harvesting (IPBES 2019, Dasgupta 2019), which are all predominantly related to the economic activity. IPBES 2019 states that protecting the Earth’s biodiversity will require transformative changes across economic and social factors with one of the key components of this change to be steering away from the current economic growth paradigm to build more a sustainable economic and financial system. The aim of my study is to quantify the link between growth of economic activity and the biodiversity loss by using night lights data as proxy for true economic growth (Henderson et al., 2012).

Dasgupta, P. (2020). Interim Report – The Dasgupta Review: Independent Review on the Economics of Biodiversity - GOV.UK (Issue April).
Henderson, J. V., Storeygard, A., & Weil, D. N. (2012). Measuring economic growth from outer space. American Economic Review, 102(2), 994–1028.
IPBES (2019): Summary for policymakers of the global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. S. Díaz, J. Settele, E. S. Brondízio E.S., H. T. Ngo, M. Guèze, J. Agard, A. Arneth, P. Balvanera, K. A. Brauman, S. H. M. Butchart, K. M. A. Chan, L. A. Garibaldi, K. Ichii, J. Liu, S. M. Subramanian, G. F. Midgley, P. Miloslavich, Z. Molnár, D. Obura, A. Pfaff, S. Polasky, A. Purvis, J. Razzaque, B. Reyers, R. Roy Chowdhury, Y. J. Shin, I. J. Visseren-Hamakers, K. J. Willis, and C. N. Zayas (eds.). IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. 56 pages.
Pimm, S. L., Jenkins, C. N., Abell, R., Brooks, T. M., Gittleman, J. L., Joppa, L. N., Raven, P. H., Roberts, C. M., & Sexton, J. O. (2014).
The biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection. Science, 344(6187).