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The minimum land area requiring conservation attention to safeguard biodiversity

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 08:20 authored by Allan, JR, Possingham, HP, Atkinson, SC, Waldron, A, Di Marco, M, Butchart, SHM, Vanessa AdamsVanessa Adams, Kissling, WD, Worsdell, T, Sandbrook, C, Gibbon, G, Kumar, K, Mehta, P, Maron, M, Williams, BA, Jones, KR, Wintle, BA, Reside, E, Watson, JEM
Ambitious conservation efforts are needed to stop the global biodiversity crisis. In this study, we estimate the minimum land area to secure important biodiversity areas, ecologically intact areas, and optimal locations for representation of species ranges and ecoregions. We discover that at least 64 million square kilometers (44% of terrestrial area) would require conservation attention (ranging from protected areas to land-use policies) to meet this goal. More than 1.8 billion people live on these lands, so responses that promote autonomy, self-determination, equity, and sustainable management for safeguarding biodiversity are essential. Spatially explicit land-use scenarios suggest that 1.3 million square kilometers of this land is at risk of being converted for intensive human land uses by 2030, which requires immediate attention. However, a sevenfold difference exists between the amount of habitat converted in optimistic and pessimistic land-use scenarios, highlighting an opportunity to avert this crisis. Appropriate targets in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to encourage conservation of the identified land would contribute substantially to safeguarding biodiversity.


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School of Geography, Planning and Spatial Sciences


Amer Assoc Advancement Science

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1200 New York Ave, Nw, Washington, USA, Dc, 20005

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Terrestrial biodiversity

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