The uptake of the biosphere integrity planetary boundary concept into national and international environmental policy

I Hurley, DP Tittensor.


The biosphere integrity planetary boundary was, at least partly, developed to aid policymakers in addressing the dangerous decline of Earth’s biodiversity. However, just over a decade since its origination the extent and speed of its adoption as a policy tool remains unclear. Here, we review the uptake of the biosphere integrity boundary into environmental policy at national and international scales, to determine the rapidity at which it has become embedded. We analyzed environmental reports published since 2009 by national governments in Europe and North America, and international reports by global biodiversity conventions and bodies. Our study found that over the last decade the framework has been referenced relatively infrequently at the international scale, though seen greater uptake at national scales, particularly in Europe. Assessing whether this represents a rapid policy uptake remains challenging due to the paucity of comparable studies on rates for analogous concepts. However, our findings suggest that the biosphere integrity planetary boundary has become relatively quickly and increasingly embedded into some national policy.