Nearly half of Earth’s land requires conservation to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services

A new study published in the journal Science on June 3, 2022 found that 44% of the Earth’s surface, or 64 million square kilometers (24.7 million square miles), must be conserved in order to protect biodiversity.

Dr. James R. Allan from the University of Amsterdam led the team that used advanced geospatial algorithms to map the best places on the globe to save Earth’s species and ecosystems. They also used spatially explicit land use scenarios to estimate the proportion of this land that will be threatened by human activity by 2030.

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“Our study is the best current estimate of how much land we need to conserve to stop the biodiversity crisis. It’s essentially a conservation blueprint for the planet,” said lead author James Allan.

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“We must act quickly. Our models show that over 1.3 million km2 of this important land – an area larger than South Africa – is likely to see its habitat cleared for human uses by 2030, which would be devastating to wildlife.”

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This finding has crucial policy implications, as countries are currently negotiating a post-2020 global biodiversity framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity, which will ideally enter into force later this year with new targets and biodiversity targets. This will set the conservation agenda for the next decade or more, and governments will be required to report regularly on progress towards these goals.


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(with agency contributions)

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Post expires at 11:41am on Tuesday June 14th, 2022

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