To Achieve Big Wins for Terrestrial Conservation, Prioritize Protection of Ecoregions Closest to Meeting Targets

Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 2, 22 May 2020
Chauvenet A.L.M., Watson J.E.M., Adams V.M., Di Marco M., Venter O., Davis K.J. et al.
Most of the terrestrial world is experiencing high rates of land conversion despite growth of the global protected area (PA) network. There is a need to assess whether the current global protection targets are achievable across all major ecosystem types and to identify those that need urgent protection. Using recent rates of habitat conversion and protection and the latest terrestrial ecoregion map, we show that if the same approach to PA establishment that has been undertaken over the past three decades continues, 558 of 748 ecoregions (ca. 75%) will not meet an aspirational 30% area protection target by 2030. A simple yet strategic acquisition plan that considers realistic futures around habitat loss and PA expansion could more than double the number of ecoregions adequately protected by 2030 given current funding constraints. These results highlight the importance of including explicit ecoregional representation targets within any new post-2020 global PA target.