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Bioscience. 2017 Jun 1;67(6):534-545. doi: 10.1093/biosci/bix014. Epub 2017 Apr 5.

An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm.

Author information

1
Eric Dinerstein (edinerstein@resolv.org), David Olson, Carly Vynne (carly@ospreyinsights.com), Eric Wikramanayake, Nathan Hahn, Suzanne Palminteri, Lori Price, and Nadia de Souza are conservation biologists at RESOLVE's Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program, in Washington, DC. Anup Joshi is a research associate and program coordinator at the Conservation Biology Program at the University of Minnesota, in St. Paul. Neil D. Burgess and Yara Shennan-Farpón are with the Science Programme at the United Nations Environment Program-World Conservation Monitoring Centre, in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Prashant Hedao is in the Geography Graduate Group at the University of California, Davis. Reed Noss is a professor of biological sciences at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando. Matthew Hansen is a remote sensing scientist at the University of Maryland, in College Park. Harvey Locke is cofounder of the Nature Needs Half Movement and cofounder and strategic advisor of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, in Banff, Alberta. Erle C. Ellis is a professor of geography and environmental systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Charles Victor Barber is the director of the Forest Legality Initiative, Crystal Davis is the director of Global Forest Watch, and Benjamin Jones is a senior fellow at World Resources Institute, Washington, DC. Randy Hayes is the executive director of Foundation Earth, in Washington, DC. Cyril Kormos and Vance Martin are vice president for policy and president, respectively, at the Wild Foundation, in Boulder, Colorado. Eileen Crist is an associate professor in the Department of Science and Technology in Society at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia. Wes Sechrest is the chief scientist and CEO at Global Wildlife Conservation, in Austin, Texas. Jonathan E. M. Baillie is chief scientist and senior vice president at National Geographic Society, Washington, DC. Don Weeden is the executive director of the Weeden Foundation, in Bedford Hills, New York. Kierán Suckling is the executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, in Tucson, Arizona. Nigel Sizer is president of the Rainforest Alliance, in New York. Rebecca Moore, David Thau, and Tanya Birch are with the Google Earth Outreach and Google Earth Engine programs, in Mountain View, California. Lilian Pintea is the vice president for science at the Jane Goodall Institute, in Vienna, Virginia. José C. Brito is a researcher with CIBIO-InBIO, in Vairão, Portugal. Othman A. Llewellyn is an environmental planner in the Department of Protected Area Planning at the Saudi Wildlife Authority, in Saudi Arabia. Anthony G. Miller is the director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants at the Royal Botanic Garden, in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Annette Patzelt is the scientific director at the Oman Botanic Garden, in the Sultanate of Oman. Shahina A. Ghazanfar is research leader in identification and naming-Asia and Jonathan Timberlake is a botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, in Kew, Surrey, United Kingdom. Heinz Klöser is at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, in Bremerhaven, Bremen, Germany. Roeland Kindt is a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre, in Nairobi, Kenya. Jens-Peter Barnekow Lillesø and Paulo van Breugel are at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. Lars Graudal is a senior advisor at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, and science domain leader at ICRAF (the World Agroforestry Centre), in Nairobi. Maianna Voge is a geospatial analyst at Greeninfo Network. Khalaf F. Al-Shammari and Mohammed Saleem are information specialists with the Environmental Information Unit of the General Department of Studies and Research at the Saudi Wildlife Authority.

Abstract

We assess progress toward the protection of 50% of the terrestrial biosphere to address the species-extinction crisis and conserve a global ecological heritage for future generations. Using a map of Earth's 846 terrestrial ecoregions, we show that 98 ecoregions (12%) exceed Half Protected; 313 ecoregions (37%) fall short of Half Protected but have sufficient unaltered habitat remaining to reach the target; and 207 ecoregions (24%) are in peril, where an average of only 4% of natural habitat remains. We propose a Global Deal for Nature-a companion to the Paris Climate Deal-to promote increased habitat protection and restoration, national- and ecoregion-scale conservation strategies, and the empowerment of indigenous peoples to protect their sovereign lands. The goal of such an accord would be to protect half the terrestrial realm by 2050 to halt the extinction crisis while sustaining human livelihoods.

KEYWORDS:

Aichi target 11; Nature Needs Half; ecoregions; global biodiversity conservation strategies; protected areas

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