Mitigating biodiversity impacts of sports events / International Union for Conservation of Nature

International Union for Conservation of Nature

Edited by International Union for Conservation of Nature. Gland - 2020

These guidelines focus on the often complex links between biodiversity and sport. As many sports events depend on a healthy natural environment, it is critical that the environment is not harmed. Outdoor events can have a range of direct and indirect negative biodiversity impacts which may include damaging natural areas and disturbing sensitive species. Physical impacts come from modifying areas, compacting soil, trampling vegetation, and accidents such as fires. Pollution may be caused by litter, fuel and chemical spills, or wildlife disturbed through increased noise, lighting or simply the presence of people in sensitive areas. There have also been cases where invasive species from outside the area have been unintentionally introduced to a venue. Biodiversity impacts can also go beyond the event venue and affect species and habitats some distance away as a result of waste disposal, water and energy use, sourcing practices and travel. The significance of these impacts differs depending on the type of sport being hosted, the size of the event, and when and where it takes place. The guidelines highlight that sports events can also benefit biodiversity. Each event offers an opportunity to raise public awareness of the value of nature and influence attitudes towards biodiversity and its conservation. There is the potential to reach large audiences, at the event and via press, broadcast and social media, as well as through advocacy by athletes and sponsors. Setting an example in the way the event is delivered and drawing attention to the flora and fauna in and around the venue can encourage more people to appreciate nature and support conservation efforts.

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