GSPC Target 6

Objective I: Plant diversity is well understood, documented and recognized

Objective II: Plant diversity is urgently and effectively conserved

Objective III: Plant diversity is used in a sustainable and equitable manner

Objective IV: Education and awareness about plant diversity, its role in sustainable livelihoods and importance to all life on earth is promoted

Objective V: The capacities and public engagement necessary to implement the Strategy have been developed


For the purposes of the target, 'production lands' refer to lands where the primary purpose is agriculture (including horticulture), grazing or wood production.

One third of the world's land area is used for food production and agricultural landscapes can be found in almost every part of the world. Over a billion people are dependant on forest products for their livelihoods. This target therefore has very wide implications.

The term 'consistent with the conservation of plant diversity' implies that land management practices should integrate a number of objectives, including:

  • The conservation of plant diversity in production lands, including genetic diversity.

  • Protection of plant species in the wider production landscape that are unique, threatened or of socio-economic importance.

  • The avoidance of significant adverse effects on plant diversity in surrounding ecosystems, for example by avoiding excessive release of agro-chemicals and preventing soil erosion.

Traditional agricultural and forestry practices that maintain a high level of plant diversity in production systems are likely to be more effective in adapting to climate change than large scale monocultures. The deployment of plant genetic diversity in agricultural and forestry systems therefore should also be encouraged as an important management response to climate change.

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Increasingly, integrated production methods are being applied in agriculture, including organic production, integrated pest management, conservation agriculture and on-farm management of plant genetic resources. Similarly, sustainable forest management practices are being more broadly applied.  

However, there are questions concerning the extent to which plant diversity specifications are incorporated into such schemes. It is believed that a better understanding of plant conservation needs by the agriculture and forestry sectors would help the achievement of this target.

The implementation of this target is closely linked to the CBD's Programme of Work on Agricultural Biodiversity and also contributes to Target 7 of the Aichi targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020:

 T7: By 2020 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity.



Forestry sector 

Regional initiatives on criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management and certification schemes provide agreed frameworks for forest management in which plant conservation is a consideration.

A good practice guide to Sustainable Forest Management has been produced by the CBD Secretariat and is available in English French and Spanish. Copies can be downloaded here.

Agriculture sector

In Europe, it is recognised that sound agricultural management practices can have a substantial positive impact on the conservation of wild flora and fauna.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) addresses the preservation of habitats and biodiversity by:

  • Specific Rural Development measures targeted towards the preservation of habitats and biodiversity (agri-environment and Natura 2000 payments).

  • Requirements included in the scope of cross compliance (Birds and Habitats Directives).

The Biodiversity Action Plan for Agriculture was adopted in 2001. It is based on the use of a number of CAP instruments benefiting biodiversity. This includes measures that encompass environmental requirements integrated into market policy and targeted environmental measures that form part of the Rural Development Programmes. The priorities of the Action Plan are:

  • the promotion and support of environmentally-friendly farming practices and systems that benefit biodiversity directly or indirectly;

  • the support of sustainable farming activities in biodiversity-rich areas;

  • the maintenance and enhancement of good ecological infrastructures, and the promotion of actions to conserve local or threatened livestock breeds or plant varieties.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) helps member countries to achieve sustainable increases in production of crops and grasslands through the development of integrated production systems and rational grassland management. A recent initiative is the launch of a compendium for Sustainable Crop Production Intensification.

Tools and resources

Please also check in the database of Tools of Resources for Case Studies relevant to this target.

Good Practice Guide to Sustainable Forest Management

This booklet, produced by the CBD Secretariat, provides a range of case studies and other materials to make the forestry sector more biodiversity-friendly and socially beneficial. 


Sustainable Agriculture Standard (366KB)

This Standard, developed by the Sustainable Agriculture Network aims to encourage farmers to analyze and consequently mitigate environmental and social risks caused by agriculture and is based on the themes of environmental soundness, social equity and economic viability. 



Land in production covers approximately 1/3 of the earth’s land surface. Increasingly, sustainable production methods are being applied in agriculture, including organic production, integrated pest management, conservation agriculture and on-farm management of plant genetic resources. Similarly, sustainable forest management practices are being more broadly applied.  This target aims to ensure the production of food crops and forestry practices in a sustainable way, while also meeting the food demands of a growing population.

Sustainable forestry

Although it the exact percentage is unknown, progress is being made toward the 75% of sustainable management target.  The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which promotes the sustainable production and management of the world’s forests has to date certified 181 million ha of forest globally. In addition the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) has certified 258 million hectares.  Through a recent PEFC investment in China’s Forest Certification Scheme (CFCS), 2 million ha of China’s forest have been certified. This investment is a very important step in protecting forests and the products they contain. Last year the Indonesian Forestry Certification Cooperation (IFCC) submitted its scheme for PEFC assessment. Other countries such as India, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, South Korea and the Thailand are advancing in the national system development and exploring options for eventual international recognition by PEFC. 

Sustainable oil palm production

The Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a membership based organization aimed at promoting the sustainable production of palm oil.  In 2011 the RSPO became a licensed trademark, allowing products on the market to be labelled on sustainable palm-derived products. Currently more that 16% of the global production of palm oil is through sustainable means. (

The National Federation of African Palm Growers (FEDEPALMA) with the Humboldt Institute on Biological Resources Research (IAvH) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are supporting  an on-going project in Columbia aimed at the improving the sustainable production of the palm oil plantations. This is to be achieved through enhanced planning and adoption of agro-ecological practices in regions prioritized for the expansion of oil palm cultivation. More information on the project is available here

Sustainable Bio fuel production

The RoundTable on Sustainable Biomaterials ( is an international certification system to ensure the sustainable production of bio-fuels . In 2014, Ennovor, one of the largest bio-diesel producers was among the first producers in the UK to receive the RSB certification of sustainability. For full press release click here

Agri- Environment Schemes within Europe

The Agri-environmental schemes have been set up to encourage farmers and land owners to manage their land sustainably, through subsidies provided by the European Union. Over 15 EU countries are adopting Agri-environment programs accounting for 20% of EU farmland.

Such practices range from

  • Reduction of use of  harmful chemicals on crops –pesticides, fertilizers

  • Creating areas/zones  of wild flowers where the land is not farmed

  • Managing  the existing landscape surrounding the farmers’ land, such as hedgerows

The scheme has 3 elements to the schemes which correspond to higher payment rates.

  • Entry level scheme

  • Higher Level Stewardship

  • Organic Entry Level Stewardship 

More information found on the scheme can be viewed here



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