Trends and gaps in protection of the world's biodiversity

In 2010, through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), governments committed to protecting adequately 17% of land and 10% of the sea by 2020 (Aichi Target 11) and to preventing extinction of known threatened species (Target 12). There is now a need to assess progress towards these targets, and to help governments sets priorities for achieving them.

This project will develop a robust, comprehensive, multi-scale, spatial and temporal analysis of the degree to which the current global protected area network covers biodiversity, and will help to set priorities for filling remaining gaps.

This project was funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation.

Project Aims

This project aims to:

  • Assess the current coverage (and recent trends) by the global protected area network of (a), ecosystems; (b) ecoregions; (c) countries; (d) the distributions of terrestrial, freshwater and marine vertebrate species; and (e) key biodiversity areas (specifically, Important Bird Areas and Alliance for Zero Extinction sites)
  • Incorporate the spatial and temporal distribution of threat as measured by the ‘Human Footprint’ index
  • Integrate scenario-based projections of future land-use change and threat drivers;
  • Prioritise the identified protected area gaps based on their contribution to improving representation of biodiversity at multiple scales, and potential feasibility of creating new reserves (based on current threats and future scenarios)
  • Synthesise these analyses into a scientific paper and a set of policy-relevant products.

The results will feed into a number of important policy mechanisms and processes, including:

  1. 6th World Parks Congress, Australia, 2014
  2. Ongoing revision of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans by parties of the CBD
  3. 5th National Reports of the CBD parties
  4. Global Biodiversity Outlook-4
  5. 2014 UN Millennium Development Goals report
  6. Proposed assessment reports of the newly establish Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services


CCI partners Involved

IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. It helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...
The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...