Image from TACP Landscape Architects's Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators. Photo: Dr Tim Rich


Our policy and research work addressing the biodiversity crisis

On this page, you can find our publications, resources, and progress updates on the LI’s biodiversity work, including our most recent work on Biodiversity Net Gain (2022).

What is biodiversity?

Nature delivers countless benefits (‘ecosystem services’) to human health, wellbeing, and society.

Biological diversity (‘biodiversity’) is a fundamental measure of the state of nature and its ability to deliver these services. In simple terms, it is the variety and variability of life on earth, including genes, ecosystems, and species.

Biodiversity is in decline. The UK State of Nature report in 2019 showed a decline of 13% in species abundance, which continues a long-term pattern of significant biodiversity losses and a failure to meet nature recovery targets.

Biodiversity loss and climate change

Scientists consider climate change and biological diversity loss as ‘two sides of the same coin’ and argue for holistic policies that tackle both in tandem.

In the first ever collaborative report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), authors called on governments to enact policies and nature-based solutions to address both issues.

The LI acknowledges the many complex links between the two emergencies. Climate change is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Simultaneously, ecosystem destruction hinders nature’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and extreme weather events. (Horizon, the EU research and innovation magazine, 29 October 2021.)

But they remain discrete policy areas, with differing mechanisms for engagement, debate, and progress. Additionally, climate change has long eclipsed biodiversity loss on the global agenda, because of its more immediately recognisable impacts on human life.

As such, the LI has chosen to declare separate climate and biodiversity emergencies, and to highlight separately our work in both areas.

Biodiversity Net Gain

Land development has long had a deleterious effect on the natural environment. Biodiversity net gain is an approach to development and land management that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand.

The Environment Act 2021, a significant piece of legislation that overhauls and replaces EU environmental frameworks, includes a commitment to halt species decline by 2030. As part of this commitment, the Act introduces a requirement for development in England to deliver at minimum a 10% net gain in biodiversity.

Legislators expect this requirement to come into force for almost all land developments in England by November 2023, and for nationally significant infrastructure projects by 2025.

Biodiversity net gain for landscape professionals: Frequently asked questions.

You can find our policy work responding to the government’s emerging regulatory framework for biodiversity net gain in our policy consultations section.

Our action plan

The Landscape Institute has published an action plan outlining how we as an organisation will respond to the biodiversity and climate change emergencies.

In it, we describe how we will:

  • Equip the profession to provide solutions
  • Regulate and monitor the sector to encourage greater sustainability
  • Advocate with governments and industry for measures to address the crisis
  • Lead through our own sustainable business operations

Read the action plan in full here.


Why have we declared an emergency?

IPBES has reported an ‘unprecedented’ decline in natural life, with over 1 million species at risk of extinction without ‘transformative changes’.

We, governments, and society worldwide need to do more. This declaration represents our commitment to a significant long-term shift in thinking, behaviour, and policy; and outlines how we will continue to engage with our members, firms, partners, and experts to bring about a programme of real change.

Read more: ‘At the forefront of climate action’ – why the LI Board has declared a climate and biodiversity emergency

The role of the LI

The LI and our members are already responding to the issue of biodiversity loss through a range of measures. Our Royal Charter obliges us to act not just in the public interest, but in the interest of place and nature too. As skills stewards for the profession, the LI has worked and will continue to work to build capacity in our profession across multiple fields.

This important declaration aims to galvanise and inspire our profession to act. To continue to engage with us on what skills and competencies are most needed to respond to the biodiversity crisis. To collaborate with other professions in developing better standards, and advocate for landscape as a leader in nature-based-solutions. And to continue to inspire the next generation to #ChooseLandscape and make a real difference in the world.

Collective action needed

We are not alone in declaring a biodiversity emergency. We, our members, and society need to demonstrate a significant change in our thoughts and actions if we are to make a real difference to what is happening.

We have already begun to engage, and offer to collaborate further, with related built and natural environment professions and regulators to harmonise our efforts. We will work, wherever possible, in partnership with others to accelerate the changes needed, including:

  • New regulatory approaches
  • Embedding sustainability further into industry standards
  • Changing our approach to the accreditation of education
  • Sharing good practice
  • Rewarding great leadership and success, for example through the LI and other industry Awards

Our Biodiversity Advisory Group

Guiding the LI’s biodiversity work is our Biodiversity Advisory Group, an expert group of members who report to the LI’s Policy and Communications Committee (PCC).

If you would like to be involved in our biodiversity work, please get in touch via