Key Biodiversity Areas

Among the most diverse places on Earth, Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) contribute significantly to the planet’s biodiversity and overall health. These sites have proven to be a key tool for guiding decisions on conservation and sustainable management. 

There are 16,356 Key Biodiversity Areas in the World and in these KBAs there are 13,762 trigger species 

43% of KBAs covered by protected and conserved areas, on average.

KBAs have global value for conservation, due to their outstanding ecological integrity, globally important ecosystems or significant populations of animals, fungi and plants. It is essential to identify, map, monitor and conserve KBAs in order to safeguard these critical sites for nature.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), BirdLife International, Plantlife International, Conservation International, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, and over 100 national/regional civil society and governmental conservation agencies.

Key Biodiversity Areas
Key Biodiversity Areas; Image Source: IUCN

The identification of KBAs is an important approach to address biodiversity conservation at the site scale i.e. at the level of individual protected areas, concessions and land management units.

Prior to 2016, KBAs were identified using globally standardised criteria and thresholds, developed from BirdLife International’s work on Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, and then expanded to cover a wider range of taxa and conservation initiatives such as Alliance for Zero Extinction Sites.

In 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published a Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas.

Providing criteria under which an area can be quantitatively assessed for inclusion as a Key Biodiversity Area, with the thresholds being applicable and comparable across taxonomic groups.

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