Governments have committed to conserving greater than or equal to 17% of terrestrial and greater than or equal to 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 km super(2) terrestrial PA network needs only 3.3 million km super(2) 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.
Original Publication Citation
Butchart, S.H.M., Clarke, M., Smith, R.J., Sykes, R.E., Scharlemann, J.P.W., Harfoot, M., . . . Burgess, N.D. (2015). Shortfalls and solutions for meeting national and global conservation area targets. Conservation Letters, 8(5), 329-337. doi: 10.1111/conl.12158
Butchart, Stuart H. M.; Clarke, Martin; Smith, Robert J.; Sykes, Rachel E.; Scharlemann, Jorn P. W.; Harfoot, Mike; Buchanan, Graeme M.; Angulo, Ariadne; Balmford, Andrew; Bertzky, Bastian; Brooks, Thomas M.; Carpenter, Kent E.; and Others, 28, "Shortfalls and Solutions for Meeting National and Global Conservation Area Targets" (2015). Biological Sciences Faculty Publications. 121.