Linking political and scientifically derived targets for global biodiversity conservation: implications for the expansion of the global network of protected areas

Authors

  • Alvaro Soutullo,

    1. Estación Biológica Terra Natura (CIBIO – Fundación Terra Natura), Universidad de Alicante, Apdo. correos 99, Alicante E-03080, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Monica De Castro,

    1. Estación Biológica Terra Natura (CIBIO – Fundación Terra Natura), Universidad de Alicante, Apdo. correos 99, Alicante E-03080, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Vicente Urios

    1. Estación Biológica Terra Natura (CIBIO – Fundación Terra Natura), Universidad de Alicante, Apdo. correos 99, Alicante E-03080, Spain
    Search for more papers by this author

Alvaro Soutullo, Estación Biológica Terra Natura (CIBIO – Fundación Terra Natura), Universidad de Alicante, Apdo. correos 99, Alicante E-03080, Spain. Tel.: +34 965 903400 Ext. 3202; Fax: +34 965 903815; E-mail: a.soutullo@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Despite the global network of protected areas covers 12% of the world's land surface, its performance is still unsatisfactory. Although political and scientifically sound conservation targets usually portray different pictures of the task ahead, we show that in terms of priority areas for expanding the global network of reserves, there is much agreement between the political targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the scientifically derived goals endorsed by international conservation organizations. Here we analyse four global databases to identify priority areas for fulfilling the CBD target of representing 10% of every ecological region within protected areas, and compare the distribution of priority regions for fulfilling that political target, with the distribution of the priority areas for global biodiversity conservation identified by Conservation International, the WWF, and the Wildlife Conservation Society on scientific basis. For 63% (549) of the world's terrestrial ecoregions the CBD 10% target is still not met; fulfilling it requires protecting another 4.6% of the Earth's land surface (6,239,894 km2). Yet, at least 78% of the priority regions for fulfilling that target lay within priority regions for the main global conservation strategies. By pursuing the political target set by the CBD much ancillary gains in terms of other global conservation objectives can be obtained.

Ancillary