conservation areas

Life on Earth is disappearing fast and will continue to do so unless urgent action is taken. Well designed and effectively managed systems of protected areas are a vital tool for reducing biodiversity loss while delivering environmental goods and services that underpin sustainable development. There are currently over 130,000 protected areas worldwide, covering around 13.9 % of the Earth’s land surface and 5.9 % of the territorial marine surface. These areas represent a tremendous resource for conserving biodiversity and for protecting vital ecosystem services.

Abstract Global changes, from habitat loss and invasive species to anthropogenic climate change, have initiated the sixth great mass extinction event in Earth's history. As species become threatened and vanish, so too do the broader ecosystems and myriad benefits to human well-being that depend upon biodiversity. Bringing an end to global biodiversity loss requires that limited available resources be guided to those regions that need it most. The biodiversity hotspots do this based on the conservation planning principles of irreplaceability and vulnerability.