From floating solar farms and volcanic cement to deep-sea mining and asexual reproduction, 15 things to watch

It is no secret that the diversity of life around us is plummeting. Scientists declared more than 100 species to be extinct in 2020 alone. That’s bad news not only for the creatures themselves but for those of us (that would be all of us) who rely on them for food, to produce oxygen, to hold soil in place, to cleanse water, to beautify our world and so much more. According to the World Economic Forum, nature plays a key role in generating more than half of global GDP.

So what can we do to reduce future harm? One big thing is to identify emerging threats and opportunities to protect biodiversity and proactively shape policies and actions to prevent harm early on. To this end, a group of scientists and conservation practitioners led by William Sutherland, a professor of conservation biology at the University of Cambridge, create and publish a “horizon scan” of global trends with impacts for biodiversity each year. Read on for this year’s top picks.

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