Concern over the ever more rapid and widespread losses of biodiversity has instigated various remedial actions: whether in situ conservation, such as the establishment of protected areas, or ex situ, such as the conservation of germplasm in gene banks. In the past, such activities were funded and managed by the public sector; however, in recent years, public support has declined and this has spawned a growing interest in conservation opportunities that might arise from ‘free–market’ approaches to sustainable land use and management. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the key framework for articulating policies and actions on biodiversity; however, progress in developing suitable economic and market incentives for biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use has been slow, with activities such as bioprospecting and ecotourism making some, albeit limited, headway. Given the United Nations Framework for Climate Change or United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC's) high profile within the public and private sectors, there is some potential for using it to help advance CBD objectives and provide the much–needed economic incentives for conservation, through some of the market–based mechanisms presented under the Kyoto Protocol. Significant potential lies in the fact that many ‘natural’ forests and certain other ecosystems are both major stores of carbon and areas of valuable biodiversity. Thus, any attempt at conserving these areas has the potential to yield both carbon and biodiversity benefits. So far, however, the conservation of natural forests is not included in the Kyoto Protocol's definition of sinks. Instead the creation of sinks—through the establishment of fast–growing monocultures—may well lead to biodiversity losses, especially if partly degraded lands are cleared for this purpose. If real progress is to be made, our understanding of the relationship between land use and biodiversity benefits needs to be improved, and more appropriate proxies for biodiversity need to be developed. At the same time, we need to have a clear understanding of the precise nature of the potential synergies and be more able to identify possible jointaction opportunities that exist between the UNFCCC, the CBD and the Convention on Combating Desertification and other international trade and economic agreements.