A poorly understood area of development and conservation planning is the multi-faceted role that species and ecosystems play in the lives of rural and coastal populations, particularly in developing countries.  Many indigenous peoples and local communities in rural, coastal and remote regions depend directly upon the harvest of species from forest, aquatic, marine/coastal dryland and grassland ecosystems for subsistence and as a source of cash income. This material utility is often underpinned by deep-seated cultural norms, values and beliefs and the use of species and ecosystems is also an expression of individual and group identity.

The Human Dependency on Nature knowledge basket (HDN) is being developed as research and communications platform supported by standards, processes, relationships, tools and capacity building, mobilized through IUCN, to increase understanding of the role of cultural and provisioning ecosystem services in the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities leading to equitable and effective  ecosystem management  and decision-making. Goals of the HDN include documenting use of provisioning and cultural ecosystem services, influencing planning and management, and developing strategies to scale up to enhance their influence in decision-making. HDN will promote a rights based approach and will have direct applicability in decision making processes and impact assessments around, inter alia, protected area designation and management, forest management and restoration, private sector investments, climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and wider development interventions.

This presentation will outline progress and opportunities through early development stages of HDN, and discuss challenges in HDN design and governance. Features and knowledge gaps include use of existing secondary data sets, development and adaptation of new and existing tools for primary data collection at sites, enhancing applicability through integration with other IUCN knowledge baskets/products (e.g. Red List of Threatened Species™, Red List of Ecosystems, and Key Biodiversity Areas), and across external partners, and scaling to regional, national, international levels.