Does nature tech hold the key to meeting the biodiversity challenge?

Last updated: 2nd June 2024

Dr. Bruce Howard, Director, Ecosystems Knowledge Network, and lead organiser of Nature Tech 2024 taking place this June, discusses the vital role of digital technology in powering nature recovery and nature-based solutions in the UK and beyond.

As nature-based solutions and biodiversity progress up the corporate and investment agendas, the tech sector is set to play a vital role. It can provide the tools to effectively plan, measure, report on and verify the positive impact of nature interventions. The size of the prize is big: the global nature tech market is expected to triple to US$6 billion by 2030(1).

Behind the scenes, companies are working hard to incorporate Science-Based Targets and the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) recommendations into their businesses. But working out how to measure your nature-related risks, dependencies and positive impact is largely uncharted territory. Nature is complex. The fear of being accused of greenwashing abounds; it all comes down to effective and credible monitoring, reporting and verification.

Private financiers and investors are grappling with similar challenges as ‘natural capital’ grows as an asset class. High-integrity, scalable and attractive investment opportunities seem hard to come by. This apparent dearth of viable opportunities is not helped by the recent troubles in the global voluntary carbon market and news of discredited carbon schemes. For those headquartered in jurisdictions such as the UK, now is a great time to support nature-based investments at home with trusted partners who share the same ambitious long-term vision to restore land, water and nature.

UK nature project developers across habitats are responding to the opportunity, and technology innovators are central to the emergence of new UK-based nature-based solutions. The UK woodland and peatland carbon markets are fast becoming established, with other codes in development. Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) through built development has become mandatory in England. In May 2024, the UK’s first biodiversity credits in South Downs National Park have been launched on platform Earthly. All of this is underpinned by advances in digital technology. This ranges from ways to create and deliver land management plans, to monitoring, reporting and verifying habitat change and species richness. New online marketplaces are emerging to enable trading in nature recovery and the benefits it yields. The range of technologies now on offer is exceptional, from analysis of environmental DNA, to bioacoustics and use of high resolution satellite data.

Technology is also powering important citizen science programmes, engaging people and communities and gathering vital data to help monitor the state of nature. The Space4Nature programme of Surrey Wildlife Trust in England is a great example.

Then there is the challenge to show how data derived using different technologies can be brought together in ways that are transparent and fit to support decision-making; in everything from the planning of new land management schemes and built development, to investments worth billions of dollars.

To provide insight into how the tech sector will rise to the biodiversity challenge, non-profit Ecosystems Knowledge Network has launched the first event in the UK dedicated to this fast-emerging area, Nature Tech 2024. Bringing together corporates, advisors, tech innovators, nature-based project developers and public sector organisations, Nature Tech 2024 will showcase the diverse range of nature technologies on offer across the UK, providing new insights, networking, and collaboration opportunities.

Join us at Nature Tech 2024 to engage with and hear directly from the innovators and experts who are developing and deploying these technologies; through leading speakers, panel discussions, workshops, displays, and networking opportunities.

Explore the Nature Tech 2024 programme and book your place to join us at Nature Tech 2024 on 25th June.

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(1)Jaclyn Wei-Lin Eng, David King, Bruce A. Strong (2022) The Market for Nature Tech. Necessary, Emergent and Dynamic. Published by Nature4Climate and Capital for Climate.

N.B. The information contained in this entry is provided by the above supplier, and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher

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