Reconciling global priorities for conserving biodiversity habitat

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 May 5;117(18):9906-9911. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1918373117. Epub 2020 Apr 21.


Degradation and loss of natural habitat is the major driver of the current global biodiversity crisis. Most habitat conservation efforts to date have targeted small areas of highly threatened habitat, but emerging debate suggests that retaining large intact natural systems may be just as important. We reconcile these perspectives by integrating fine-resolution global data on habitat condition and species assemblage turnover to identify Earth's high-value biodiversity habitat. These are areas in better condition than most other locations predicted to have once supported a similar assemblage of species and are found within both intact regions and human-dominated landscapes. However, only 18.6% of this high-value habitat is currently protected globally. Averting permanent biodiversity loss requires clear, spatially explicit targets for retaining these unprotected high-value habitats.

Keywords: community; condition; conservation; contextual intactness; ecosystem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodiversity*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Earth, Planet*
  • Ecosystem
  • Humans