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Areas of global importance for conserving terrestrial biodiversity, carbon and water


Jung, M and Arnell, A and de Lamo, X and Garcia-Rangel, S and Lewis, M and Mark, J and Merow, C and Miles, L and Ondo, I and Pironon, S and Ravilious, C and Rivers, M and Schepashenko, D and Tallowin, O and van Soesbergen, A and Govaerts, R and Boyle, BL and Enquist, BJ and Feng, X and Gallagher, R and Maitner, B and Meiri, S and Mulligan, M and Ofer, G and Roll, U and Hanson, JO and Jetz, W and Di Marco, M and McGowan, J and Rinnan, DS and Sachs, JD and Lesiv, M and Adams, VM and Andrew, SC and Burger, JR and Hannah, L and Marquet, PA and McCarthy, JK and Morueta-Holme, N and Newman, EA and Park, DS and Roehrdanz, PR and Svenning, J-C and Violle, C and Wieringa, JJ and Wynne, G and Fritz, S and Strassburg, BBN and Obersteiner, M and Kapos, V and Burgess, N and Schmidt-Traub, G and Visconti, P, Areas of global importance for conserving terrestrial biodiversity, carbon and water, Nature Ecology and Evolution pp. 1-23. ISSN 2397-334X (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41559-021-01528-7


To meet the ambitious objectives of biodiversity and climate conventions, the international community requires clarity on how these objectives can be operationalized spatially and how multiple targets can be pursued concurrently. To support goal setting and the implementation of international strategies and action plans, spatial guidance is needed to identify which land areas have the potential to generate the greatest synergies between conserving biodiversity and nature's contributions to people. Here we present results from a joint optimization that minimizes the number of threatened species, maximizes carbon retention and water quality regulation, and ranks terrestrial conservation priorities globally. We found that selecting the top-ranked 30% and 50% of terrestrial land area would conserve respectively 60.7% and 85.3% of the estimated total carbon stock and 66% and 89.8% of all clean water, in addition to meeting conservation targets for 57.9% and 79% of all species considered. Our data and prioritization further suggest that adequately conserving all species considered (vertebrates and plants) would require giving conservation attention to ~70% of the terrestrial land surface. If priority was given to biodiversity only, managing 30% of optimally located land area for conservation may be sufficient to meet conservation targets for 81.3% of the terrestrial plant and vertebrate species considered. Our results provide a global assessment of where land could be optimally managed for conservation. We discuss how such a spatial prioritization framework can support the implementation of the biodiversity and climate conventions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Environmental management
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Environmental protection frameworks (incl. economic incentives)
UTAS Author:Adams, VM (Associate Professor Vanessa Adams)
ID Code:146241
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:32
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2021-08-26
Last Modified:2022-08-25

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