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Shortfalls and Solutions for Meeting National and Global Conservation Area Targets

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Butchart, SHM 
Clarke, M 
Smith, RJ 
Sykes, RE 
Scharlemann, JPW 


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pGovernments have committed to conserving ≥17% of terrestrial and ≥10% of marine environments globally, especially “areas of particular importance for biodiversity” through “ecologically representative” Protected Area (PA) systems or other “area‐based conservation measures”, while individual countries have committed to conserve 3–50% of their land area. We estimate that PAs currently cover 14.6% of terrestrial and 2.8% of marine extent, but 59–68% of ecoregions, 77–78% of important sites for biodiversity, and 57% of 25,380 species have inadequate coverage. The existing 19.7 million kmjats:sup2</jats:sup> terrestrial PA network needs only 3.3 million kmjats:sup2</jats:sup> to be added to achieve 17% terrestrial coverage. However, it would require nearly doubling to achieve, cost‐efficiently, coverage targets for all countries, ecoregions, important sites, and species. Poorer countries have the largest relative shortfalls. Such extensive and rapid expansion of formal PAs is unlikely to be achievable. Greater focus is therefore needed on alternative approaches, including community‐ and privately managed sites and other effective area‐based conservation measures.</jats:p>



Aichi Targets, Alliance for Zero Extinction, Convention on Biological Diversity, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, IUCN Red List, Key Biodiversity Areas, protected areas

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Conservation Letters

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We are grateful to the many individuals and organizations who contribute to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species,WDPA, or to identification of IBAs or AZEs. We thank A. Bennett for help with data collation and N. Dulvy, W. Laurance, and D. Faith for helpful comments on an earlier draft. This work was supported by the Cambridge Conservation Initiative Collaborative Fund and Arcadia.