Identifying science-policy consensus regions of high biodiversity value and institutional recognition
Cimatti, M and Brooks, TM and Di Marco, M, Identifying science-policy consensus regions of high biodiversity value and institutional recognition, Global Ecology and Conservation, 32 Article e01938. ISSN 2351-9894 (2021) [Refereed Article]
Under unsustainable rates of global biodiversity loss, there is urgent need to improve area-based conservation interventions and focus on regions with the highest conservation value. Efficient conservation plans require knowledge of the most important biodiversity areas, but several global prioritization maps show incongruent definition of these areas, slowing down global conservation efforts. We developed a framework to systematically identify and combine areas of high biodiversity value from published spatial prioritization maps. We retrieved 63 articles presenting prioritization maps (out of 5137 screened) and grouped these into three separate clusters based on their underlying methodology and input data, using Multivariate Component Analysis and Hierarchical Clustering on Principal Components. By combining these maps, weighted according to their cluster characteristics, we generated a map of scientific-consensus regions with the highest overlap of independently generated biodiversity priorities. We also created a map of policy-consensus, representing regions with the highest potential to attract the interest of the international conservation organizations. While regions with the highest science-policy biodiversity consensus value are mostly located in the tropics, we found several regions in temperate areas. Alarmingly, less than one third of the top-ranked science-policy consensus regions are currently protected. Thus, there is high potential for targeting area-based conservation interventions in regions that represent consensus priorities for biodiversity conservation and have high potential for policy support. Securing these areas should be a strategic priority for implementing the post-2020 Framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity, as focusing on other areas will lead to trade-offs among multiple biodiversity objectives.