Global Policy

SDG 15

IUCN's SDG brochure image - SDG15

Sustainable management of terrestrial ecosystems helps mitigate climate change and supports the livelihoods, health and well-being of millions of people around the world. Terrestrial biodiversity faces a number of threats, however, including overexploitation, invasive species and climate change. As a result, species extinctions are currently occurring one thousand times faster than the natural rate. About 30% of land is degraded, leading to declines in agricultural productivity and outputs. 

IUCN works to conserve terrestrial ecosystems by assessing species’ extinction risk, improving land use management and restoring degraded landscapes.


  • assesses risk to terrestrial species (The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™) and ecosystems (Red List of Ecosystems) to guide conservation policy and action, land use, and investment priorities – the Red List Index is the official indicator for SDG Target 15.5;
  • provides guidelines and training on the effective management of protected areas;
  • identifies sites of global significance for the persistence of biodiversity (Key Biodiversity Areas) to guide the establishment of protected areas and other safeguards – protected area coverage of Key Biodiversity Areas is an official indicator for SDG Targets 15.1 and 15.4;
  • develops tools and builds capacity to combat desertification, land degradation and drought, prevent deforestation and restore forests;
  • develops best practice to help extractive, agricultural and other companies reduce their impacts on the environment;
  • develops methods to detect, manage and respond to invasive alien species, and provides the official indicator for SDG Target 15.8;
  • advises governments on sustainable trade in wildlife to help end poaching and trafficking.
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