As the COP15 nature summit in Montreal adopted a new global agreement to halt and reverse harm to the Earth's biodiversity, researchers and officials said the deal could also play a vital role in boosting the world's ability to combat climate change.

From the Amazon rainforest to mangroves in Southeast Asia, natural areas help to slow climate change by absorbing and storing vast amounts of planet-heating carbon dioxide.

But human activities like deforestation and mining have degraded 40% of the planet's land, according to the United Nations, while rising temperatures worldwide are making it harder for plants, animals and marine life to survive.