Science-based targets for driving global wetland conservation applicable from local to global scales

Science-based targets for driving global wetland conservation applicable from local to global scales

The Species Threat Abatement and Restoration (STAR) metric allows business, governments and civil society to quantify their potential contributions to stemming global species loss, and can be used to calculate national, regional, sector-based, or institution-specific targets.

STAR currently lacks a means to establish these science-based targets for freshwater ecosystems. To address this need, this project will expand the STAR metric based on terrestrial species to also cover aquatic ecosystems in time for the global response to the adoption of the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Project Aims

STAR combines IUCN Red List data on species extinction risk and threats with, species’ distribution data, habitat associations and global land cover maps to quantify the potential contribution of threat abatement and habitat restoration activities to reducing global species extinction risk. Currently the STAR metric only uses information on birds, amphibians and mammals.

With the imminent completion of a globally comprehensive set of Red List data and distribution maps for freshwater fishes, odonates, crustaceans and molluscs our project will incorporate these new data to enable the STAR metric to quantify the potential benefit of conservation actions to freshwater species.

Key Activities

The project will implement the following key activities:

  • Develop methods to assess Area of Habitat (AOH) for freshwater aquatic species
  • Undertake a global STAR analysis incorporating freshwater species in addition to existing terrestrial taxa.
  • Implement case studies at different scales to showcasing application of the expanded STAR methodology. The studies will most likely be:
    • national scale, for Madagascar, to allow a comparison of STAR values before and after incorporating freshwater species;
    • at a selected landscape from the CCI Endangered Landscapes Programme project in the Danube Biosphere Reserve that is restoring connectivity through dam removal.

Conservation Impact

The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will guide global conservation action over the next decade, aligned in turn to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To deliver the post-2020 framework, we need to quantify potential contributions to biodiversity conservation from around the world. This project provide a mechanism to quantify contributions towards conservation of freshwater species and make it easier to reward positive action, as well as highlighting where policy change is needed to mitigate negative impact.


  • Methods for calculating Area of Habitat in freshwater species established and prepared for publication.
  • Area of Habitat maps for freshwater species:
    • included on the IUCN Red List
    • incorporated into (a) range-weighted rarity, (b) threatened species and (c) species richness layers.
    • applied in identification of Key Biodiversity Areas
  • The first global STAR layer for freshwater and terrestrial species.
  • New global STAR layer is used by the private sector, government and civil society, through the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool and IUCN’s Nature Contributions Platform.
  • Two case studies showcasing STAR: (i) an ELP river restoration project, and (ii) for Madagascar.

CCI partners Involved

Other Organisations Involved

Newcastle University