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An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm

An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm Forum An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm ERIC DINERSTEIN, DAVID OLSON, ANUP JOSHI, CARLY VYNNE, NEIL D. BURGESS, ERIC WIKRAMANAYAKE, NATHAN HAHN, SUZANNE PALMINTERI, PRASHANT HEDAO, REED NOSS, MATT HANSEN, HARVEY LOCKE, ERLE C ELLIS, BENJAMIN JONES, CHARLES VICTOR BARBER, RANDY HAYES, CYRIL KORMOS, VANCE MARTIN, EILEEN CRIST, WES SECHREST, LORI PRICE, JONATHAN E. M. BAILLIE, DON WEEDEN, KIERÁN SUCKLING, CRYSTAL DAVIS, NIGEL SIZER, REBECCA MOORE, DAVID THAU, TANYA BIRCH, PETER POTAPOV, SVETLANA TURUBANOVA, ALEXANDRA TYUKAVINA, NADIA DE SOUZA, LILIAN PINTEA, JOSÉ C. BRITO, OTHMAN A. LLEWELLYN, ANTHONY G. MILLER, ANNETTE PATZELT, SHAHINA A. GHAZANFAR, JONATHAN TIMBERLAKE, HEINZ KLÖSER, YARA SHENNAN-FARPÓN, ROELAND KINDT, JENS-PETER BARNEKOW LILLESØ, PAULO van BREUGEL, LARS GRAUDAL, MAIANNA VOGE, KHALAF F. AL-SHAMMARI, AND MUHAMMAD SALEEM We assess progress toward the protection of 50%  of the terrestrial biosphere to address the species-extinction crisis and conserve a global ecological heritage for future generations. Using a map of Earth’s 846 terrestrial ecoregions, we show that 98 ecoregions (12%) exceed Half Protected; 313 ecoregions (37%) fall short of Half Protected but have sufficient unaltered habitat remaining to reach the target; and 207 ecoregions (24%) are in peril, where an average of only 4% of natural habitat remains. We propose a Global Deal for Nature—a companion to AQ1 the Paris Climate Deal—to promote increased habitat protection and restoration, national- and ecoregion-scale conservation strategies, and the empowerment of indigenous peoples to protect their sovereign lands. The goal of such an accord would be to protect half the terrestrial realm by 2050 to halt the extinction crisis while sustaining human livelihoods. Keywords: Nature Needs Half, Aichi target 11, ecoregions, protected areas, global biodiversity conservation strategies rotected areas are the cornerstone of biodiversity  achieve representation of all species or ecosystems in pro- Pconservation (Coetzee et  al. 2014, Wuerthner et  al. tected areas and the conservation of global biodiversity, as 2015). Where networks of protected areas are large, con- are required by the CBD (Noss et  al. 2012, Butchart et  al. nected, well managed, and distributed across diverse habi- 2015, Wilson 2016). In contrast, reviews of conservation tats, they sustain populations of threatened and functionally plans by Pressey and colleagues (2003) and Noss and col- important species and ecosystems more effectively than leagues (2012) demonstrated the scientific basis for a 50% other land uses (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Gray et  al. protection target to achieve comprehensive biodiversity 2016). Protected areas also play an important role in climate- conservation. Authors of ecoregion-scale conservation plans change mitigation (Baker et  al. 2015, Melillo et  al. 2015). from a variety of habitats who empirically evaluated what Recognizing the importance of protected areas for conserv- is required to represent and protect habitat and ecosystems ing nature and its services, the Convention on Biological (including marine) have agreed on the need to conserve Diversity (CBD) established a goal to protect 17% of ter- about half of a given region (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, restrial land and inland water areas by 2020 through Aichi Pressey et al. 2003, Noss et al. 2012, O’Leary et al. 2016). target 11. To date, approximately 15% of global land is pro- More recently, the scientific basis for protecting half tected (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN 2016). the terrestrial realm was strengthened by Wilson’s (2016) Aichi target 11 is achievable but insufficient. Seventeen analysis of extinction in relation to area of natural habitat percent is not a science-based level of protection that will loss, of greatest concern in habitats rich in endemic species. BioScience 67: 534–545. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com doi:10.1093/biosci/bix014 Advance Access publication 5 April, 2017 534 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum Even before these biodiversity-based analyses of the land than 50% but more than 20%. Ecoregions in this category area required for conservation, Odum and Odum (1972) would require restoration to reach Half Protected because pointed to the need to conserve half of the land to main- the amount of available habitat outside protected areas tain ecosystem function for the benefit of humans. On the plus the existing protected areas is below 50%. (4) Nature question of how much to conserve, a species-conservation Imperiled: The sum of the amount of natural habitat remain- approach derived the same answer as an ecosystem-services ing and the amount of the total ecoregion that is protected is paradigm—a striking example of convergence. Therefore, less than or equal to 20%. the aspirational goal of 50% protected has emerged and the In many Nature Imperiled ecoregions, the remaining science codified in several advocacy and policy papers under habitat exists as a mosaic of isolated fragments insufficient the name Nature Needs Half (NNH; e.g., Locke 2013). in size and orientation to adequately conserve biodiver- Nature Needs Half addresses the spatial dimensions of sity (Wilson 2016). We recognize that in the most heavily conservation biology, which comprises four goals: (1) rep- altered ecoregions, achieving Half Protected is inconceivable resent all native ecosystem types and successional stages because of extreme rates of conversion. For example, in the across their natural range of variation, (2) maintain viable tall grass prairie ecoregions of the United States and Canada, populations of all native species in natural patterns of abun- 99% of the land area is devoted to agriculture—an active dance and distribution, (3) maintain ecological and evolu- land use that is unlikely to transition back to natural habitat. tionary processes, and (4) address environmental change To determine the shortcomings in conservation even to maintain the evolutionary potential of lineages (Noss where protected areas exist, we conducted a global survey and Cooperrider 1994). Here, we evaluate progress toward of terrestrial ecoregions for which strategies to achieve Nature Needs Half within the framework of ecoregions, long-term conservation goals have been developed. For each protected areas, and habitats. We answer two basic ques- strategy, we assessed the extent to which all four goals of tions that must be addressed: (1) Is the aspirational goal of biodiversity conservation are addressed (appendix S3). protecting half of nature in the terrestrial realm possible? (2) Which half should be protected, and how much of it has Evaluating protected area networks using already been conserved? ecoregions To address these questions and enhance systematic plan- The 2001 map of the terrestrial ecoregions of the world ning for terrestrial biodiversity conservation, we revised the (Olson et  al. 2001) facilitated the design of representative 2001 map of terrestrial ecoregions of the world (supplemental networks of protected areas. It has also been used to depict appendix S1; Olson et  al. 2001). We then determined the species distributions, to model the ecological impacts of extent of both protected areas and remaining natural habitat climate change, to develop landscape-scale conservation within each ecoregion. To designate the protected area net- plans, and to report on progress toward international targets. ©Resolve work, we used the World Database of Protected Areas (UNEP- The revised map, named Ecoregions2017 , that is the WCMC 2016), which is inclusive of International Union of basis for this scheme is unchanged for large sections of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories I to VI (Dudley seven biogeographical realms but differs from the original 2008), as well as many community conservancies, aboriginal map in four regions: the Arabian Peninsula, some of the des- ownership, and private lands without an IUCN category. To ert and drier ecoregions of the African continent, Antarctica, assess habitat, we used tree-cover maps in forested ecoregions and the southeastern United States (figure 1). Further details (Hansen et al. 2013) and excluded globally significant patterns and justification for changes are presented in supplemental of human land use and populations (anthropogenic biomes, appendix S1. or “Anthromes”) in nonforested ecoregions (Ellis et  al. 2010; Calculating the extent of protection by ecoregion and detailed methods in supplemental appendix S2). biome provides a scorecard to measure progress toward Half We conducted this analysis across all 846 terrestrial ecore- Protected (table 1, figure 2). Summing across all 14  biomes gions distributed among the Earth’s 14 terrestrial biomes and their constituent 846 ecoregions, 98 ecoregions (12%) (supplemental appendix S1). We then sorted ecoregions have already achieved Half Protected. The largest category into four categories defined by the extent of both remaining is Nature Could Reach Half, with 313 ecoregions (37%), natural habitat and protected land: followed by the 228 ecoregions classified as Nature Could (1) Half Protected: More than 50% of the total ecore- Recover (27%). Half Protected remains a reasonable goal in gion area is protected. (2) Nature Could Reach Half: Less these regions. Within Nature Could Reach Half, 119 (38%) than 50% of the total ecoregion area is protected but the ecoregions have greater than 20% of their land area protected; sum of total ecoregion protected and unprotected natural the remaining 194 ecoregions (62%) have limited coverage of habitat remaining is more than 50%. Ecoregions in this protected areas but retain considerable intact natural habitat. category have enough remaining natural habitat to reach To achieve Half Protected, these 313 regions require only an Half Protected if additional protected areas or other types of expansion of their protected area network. The remaining conservation areas are added to the system. (3) Nature Could 207 ecoregions (24%) classified as Nature Imperiled have lit- Recover: The sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining tle natural habitat and will require intensive efforts to achieve and the amount of the total ecoregion that is protected is less Half Protected or even to conserve the fraction that remains. http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 535 Forum ©Resolve Figure 1. The 846 global ecoregions that comprise Ecoregions2017 nested within 14 terrestrial biomes. An interactive map is available at ecoregions2017.appspot.com. (A companion biome map is presented in supplemental appendix S1, supplemental figure S1). Analyses conducted at a global scale inevitably involve Nature Could Reach Half (many of which already exceed error. Here, we were unable to differentiate “paper parks”— Aichi target 11). Of the best-protected ecoregions, the designated protected areas that remain unprotected because majority (15) occur in the Neotropics, followed by the of lack of enforcement—from those that are well managed. Indomalayan realm (11; figure 2). Protected areas subjected to severe bushmeat-hunting pres- In contrast to the moist forests, the tropical and subtropi- sures or overgrazing by domestic livestock are also ignored cal dry broadleaf forest is the most endangered biome on at this scale, although these are major threats. There are also Earth; only 2 ecoregions (among 56) are Half Protected, protected areas where activities (e.g., industrial extraction) 20 are Nature Could Recover, and 26 are Nature Imperiled. have been expressly allowed by governments even though The temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome has the these activities are plainly inconsistent with conservation second largest number of ecoregions (83) but shows a distri- objectives. We elucidate the major sources of error, including bution of protection categories skewed toward those needing the assessments of tree-cover change and land-cover classes, restoration: Nature Could Recover and Nature Imperiled. in supplemental appendix S2. The boreal forest ecoregions are among the largest and have the greatest potential to reach Half Protected because of Forested ecoregions and biomes. The 476 forested ecoregions their vast remaining intact forest blocks. are distributed unevenly among each of the four catego- The majority of mangrove ecoregions fall into the cat- ries of protection: 40 (8%) achieve Half Protected; 198 and egories of Half Protected or Nature Could Reach Half. The 130  fall into Nature Could Have Half and Nature Could remaining mangrove ecoregions are degraded but can recover Recover categories, respectively; and 108 are classified as through restoration (table 1, supplemental appendix S2). Nature Imperiled. The Nature Imperiled category includes 108 (23%) forest The tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests ecoregions (n = 476; table 1; supplemental appendix S2, biome has more species and ecoregions than any other supplemental table S1a, S1b). Assessing recent trends in tree on Earth. Covering only 14% of the Earth’s land area, this cover, of the 16 forest ecoregions with the greatest extent of biome supports at least 50% of the world’s species (table tree loss between 2000 and 2014 (ranging from 20% to 86%), 1), many of which have likely yet to be discovered (Mora 9 are in the Afrotropics, and 4 are in the Indo-Malayan realm et al. 2011). Fortunately, over half (61%; 140) of the ecore- of India. Deforestation was greatest in the Nigerian lowland gions within this species-rich biome (n = 230) fall into the forests and the Cross-Niger transition forests. Half Protected or Nature Could Reach Half category: 24 (10%) ecoregions have achieved Half Protected (table 1, Nonforested ecoregions and biomes. The protected area supplemental appendix S2), and 116 (50%) have achieved network is far less extensive in nonforested biomes. The 536 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum Table 1. Progress toward Nature Needs Half by biome, showing the number of ecoregions in each category, based on habitat protected and habitat remaining. Biome name and number Percentage Mean (1) Half (2) Nature (3) Nature (4) Nature Total of Earth’s percentage Protected Could Reach Could Imperiled terrestrial of protected Half Recover area within biome Forested biomes 1. Tropical and subtropical 14.4 12 24 116 46 44 230 moist broadleaf forests 2. Tropical and subtropical dry 2.9 8 2 8 20 26 56 broadleaf forests 3. Tropical and subtropical 0.5 12 1 6 7 1 15 coniferous forests 4. Temperate broadleaf and 9.3 10 7 21 30 25 83 mixed forests 5. Temperate conifer forests 2.8 17 2 16 19 10 47 6. Boreal forests or taiga 11.4 9 1 23 2 0 26 14. Mangroves 0.2 26 3 8 6 2 19 Forested biome subtotal 41.5 13 40 198 130 108 476 Nonforested biomes 7. Tropical and subtropical 15.8 15 5 14 18 20 57 grasslands, savannas, and shrublands 8. Temperate grasslands, 7.8 4 0 11 13 24 48 savannas, and shrublands 9. Flooded Grasslands and 0.9 32 8 4 9 4 25 Savannas 10. Montane grasslands and 3.6 25 9 11 14 12 46 shrublands 11. Tundra 8.7 8 26 24 0 1 51 12. Mediterranean forests, 2.4 18 2 5 25 8 40 woodlands, and scrub 13. Deserts and xeric 19.3 6 8 46 19 30 103 shrublands Nonforested biome subtotal 58.5 10 58 115 98 99 370 Total 100 12 98 313 228 207 846 Note: The ecoregion data can be found in supplemental tables S1 and S2. (1) Half Protected: 50% or more of the total ecoregion area is protected. (2) Nature Could Reach Half: Less than 50% of the total ecoregion area is protected, but the sum of the total ecoregion protected and unprotected natural habitat remaining is 50% or more. (3) Nature Could Recover: The sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining and the amount of the ecoregion that is protected is less than 50% but more than 20%. (4) Nature Imperiled: The sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining and the amount of the ecoregion that is protected is less than or equal to 20%. tundra biome is best protected among the seven non- a dominant feature in the large majority of ecoregions, as forested biomes: 26 of the 51 tundra ecoregions (51%) has also been shown by Venter and colleagues (2016). In fall under Half Protected, and another 24 ecoregions the 207 Nature Imperiled ecoregions, an average of 96% (47%) are in Nature Could Reach Half. Desert and xeric of natural habitat has been converted to an anthropogenic shrubland ecoregions also have expansive networks of land use. Many of the fragments in these ecoregions are of protected areas and large swaths of natural habitat disproportionately high biodiversity value. Here, protecting remaining: over half fall into Half Protected or Nature Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) will be cr ucial, and the goal Could Reach Half (figure 2). Ecoregions in the remaining of NNH remains aspirational and of secondary concern to nonforested biomes have been more heavily degraded: 99 protecting what remains (Eken et al. 2004). (27%) nonforested ecoregions were categorized as Nature Forested and nonforested biomes are evenly represented Imperiled. in the Nature Imperiled category (table 1). Hoekstra and colleagues (2005) described the temperate grasslands, savan- Human impact and revisiting the most endangered biomes on nas, and shrublands biome as the most endangered in the Earth. Land-use change as a result of human activities is world. However, our results show that the most critically http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 537 Forum Figure 2. The protection statuses of ecoregions of the world. This map shows the high levels of habitat remaining in some of the most species-rich areas on Earth, including the Brazilian Amazon, the Congo basin, and the islands of Indonesia. Although enough habitat remains for nearly half of the ecoregions to exceed 50% protected in the coming decades, much of this forest is still unprotected, and just under 50% of ecoregions have adequate conservation plans in place to keep remaining forests intact (supplemental appendix S3). The numbers in parentheses for each category represent the entire number of ecoregions found in each category. The ecoregion protection categories are defined as the following: Half Protected, more than 50% protected; Nature Could Reach Half, less than 50% of the total ecoregion area is protected, but the sum of the total ecoregion protected and unprotected natural habitat remaining is more than 50%; Nature Could Recover, the sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining and the amount of the total ecoregion that is protected is less than 50% but more than 20%; Nature Imperiled, the sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining and the amount of the total ecoregion that is protected is less than or equal to 20%. endangered biome—as is determined by the proportion of Beyond Aichi targets: Toward Half Protected Nature Imperiled ecoregions that constitute each—is the The need to go beyond Aichi protection targets was approved tropical dry forests, whereas two nonforested biomes are by delegates at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress. They nearly as endangered: (1) tropical and subtropical grass- further decided that the total area of protected areas and lands, savannas, and shrublands and (2) Mediterranean connectivity lands needs to be far higher than current con- forests, woodlands, and scrub. ceptions and agreed on the importance of setting ambitious Without considering fine-scale endemism and beta- targets (IUCN 2014). Results from our global assessment sug- diversity (turnover of species with distance or along gradi- gest that the ambitious target of protecting half of terrestrial ents), simple metrics of habitat loss and percent protection nature is attainable for many of the Earth’s more intact ecore- may underestimate the conservation crisis among biomes. gions. Among the 846 ecoregions, 98 (12%) occupy the Half Biodiversity loss would therefore be much greater and more Protected category. Although these ecoregions are largely sensitive to habitat conversion in tropical and subtropical concentrated in two biomes—tropical and subtropical moist grasslands, savannas, and shrublands; in Mediterranean for- forest and tundra—there is at least one ecoregion achieving ests, woodlands, and scrub; and in tropical moist and tropi- this status in 12 of the 14 biomes. Within Nature Could Reach cal dry forests. These four biomes support higher endemism Half (n = 313), 26 ecoregions (8%) are at least 40% protected and greater beta-diversity levels than those found in other and therefore require modest additional protection to reach biomes. Half Protected in each. These and the other 287 ecoregions constituting the Nature Could Reach Half category provide 538 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum and Bhutan—are worth singling out as compelling examples of where effective implementation embodies key principles of biodiversity conservation. They also refute some of the criticisms raised over the NNH approach that (a) it could dis- place rather than empower indigenous communities, (b) it is a paradigm only suitable for wealthy countries, and (c) it can only succeed in sparsely populated, remote ecoregions. Namibia’s conservation strategy includes conservation areas managed by local communities alongside govern- ment-run strict nature reserves across all its ecoregions. These communities are awarded autonomy to manage vast tracts of land for wildlife conservation and income generation, in large part by Figure 3. The proportion of biodiversity goals addressed within available allowing communities to own the wild- conservation plans for all 846 ecoregions, distributed across the four protection- life. Now widely touted as a success story status categories. The colors represent the percentage of conservation strategies in global conservation, these lands were addressed within each protection-status category: 0 goals addressed, red; 1 goal largely defaunated through poaching addressed, yellow; 2 goals addressed, orange; 3 goals addressed, light green; 4 only 25 years ago. Community-managed goals addressed, dark green. For a detailed list of conservation strategies and lands, called communal conservancies, sources, see supplemental appendix S3. now contribute to Namibia’s national protected area network, which covers the greatest conservation opportunity, because adequate 47% of the country. Communal conservancies range in size 2 2 habitat remains to reach Half Protected. These ecoregions from 43 square kilometers (km ) to 9120 km (the mean are found within every biome and should rank high in the being 1953 km ). In fact, many conservancies function as formulation of the next Aichi target 11 post-2020. vital corridors connecting other protected areas and allow- Because Aichi target 11 requires protected area networks ing dispersal, movement, and range recovery of large mam- to be ecologically representative, an ecoregion assessment mals, including elephants, lions, and others that are in steep provides an indispensable tool for meeting the new targets decline elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa (figure 4a; Naidoo to be set in 2020. Greater effort is needed to complete et al. 2016). these ecoregion strategies. For example, only 94 of the In Nepal, ecoregion conservation strategies that involve 846 terrestrial ecoregions (11%) have published plans that local communities are the rule and complement the coun- address all four biodiversity conservation goals (figure  3; try’s strictly protected areas. In the lowlands and midlands, see supplemental appendix S3 for methods). Formal community forestry and agroforestry in designated land- conservation strategies that address three-fourths of the scapes yield economic returns while strategically extending biodiversity conservation goals were published for 22% habitat and connectivity among reserves (figure 4b, table of ecoregions globally. Most of these strategies focus on 2; Wikramanayake et  al. 2010). Community-managed for- identifying priority areas for protection and on conserving est parcels are small—some are as little as 20 hectares in species of conservation concern (figure 3). Notably, a high size—but abundant and interspersed among larger protected percentage of ecoregions in the Nature Imperiled category areas, often facilitating population recovery of endangered have plans that address all four conservation goals. This large mammals (Wikramanayake et  al. 2010). Community is because biodiversity hotspots—biologically rich areas forests, linked together to form corridors, play a pivotal role containing less than 30% of the original habitat—are in landscape conservation. Handing over forest management explicitly targeted by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund to communities, which then receive 50% of the revenue gen- (CEPF) profiles (Myers et  al. 2000, Olson 2010). Of great erated by wildlife parks in designated buffer zones, led to a concern are the 337 ecoregions that lack biodiversity plans 61% increase in tigers and a 31% increase in rhinos over a ( supplemental appendix S3). 5-year period (2008–2013). No rhinos, tigers, or elephants Robust ecoregion strategies must be followed by effective have been poached in Nepal in several years (Dhakal et  al. implementation to realize biodiversity conservation goals 2014). formulated at a national scale. Three countries advancing In the Himalayan and trans-Himalayan ecoregions to or already surpassing Half Protected—Namibia, Nepal, overlapping Nepal, conservation areas managed by local http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 539 Forum Figure 4a–c. Ecoregion conservation planning in three developing countries: (a) Namibia uses communal conservation areas to extend protection beyond protected areas and cover a diverse set of ecoregions, (b) Nepal uses a mixture of protected areas and conservation landscapes to protect along north–south and east–west gradients, and (c) Bhutan uses protected areas combined with biological corridors to provide connectivity between protected areas and across ecoregions. communities exceed in area the land under national-park temperate broadleaf forests, which are so heavily con- status and some, such as the Annapurna Conservation Area, verted elsewhere, are particularly well protected. Bhutan, return large sums of tourism-generated revenues annually as with Nepal, ranks among the nations with the lowest to local funds. These are sparsely populated ecoregions. In per capita GDP but protects enough habitat to conserve contrast, the protected areas and community forests of the biodiversity (Dinerstein 2013). Terai-Duar savannas ecoregion in Nepal are intermingled All three examples stress core protected areas, buffer with some of the highest rural population densities on Earth. zones, and connectivity—all key components of ecoregion In this densely settled, productive ecoregion situated on conservation strategies and securing biodiversity. The first alluvial soils, there is room for intensive rice production and two examples illustrate how extensive areas can be put under park protection (Dinerstein et  al. 1999), the latter of which conservation management by engaging local communi- returns more than $1 million annually to local development ties. The example of Bhutan offers a different mechanism funds in demarcated buffer zones. through constitutional decree. Both approaches work. Bhutan protects 51% of its land through national parks and corridors connecting reserves (figure 4c, table 2). In Strengths and weaknesses of the Nature Needs Half a novel policy framework, Bhutan’s constitution requires approach to conserving half the terrestrial realm that at least 60% of the country remains forested (cur- NNH, like any paradigm, has strengths and weaknesses. rently, forest cover is estimated at 72%). Mid-elevation NNH offers a simple, inspirational, and science-based 540 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum Table 2. The conservation status of ecoregions within the countries of Namibia, Nepal, and Bhutan. Ecoregion Ecoregion Global Ecoregion Percentage Country’s Percentage Global number ecoregion area within of global area of ecoregion area country ecoregion protected country’s protection 2 2 (km ) (km ) area in IUCN ecoregions status cateogry protected I-VI (km ) Country of Namibia   34 Angolan mopane woodlands 191,639 151,443 79 66,620 44 2 47 Kalahari Acacia woodlands 106,411 68,004 64 46,214 68 1 64 Zambezian Baikiaea woodlands 358,546 86,277 24 20,469 24 2 65 Zambezian mopane woodlands 387,596 4,724 1 2,569 54 2 70 Etosha Pan halophytics 7,691 7,688 100 7,457 97 1 76 Zambezian flooded grasslands 201,936 4,239 2 2,137 50 1 94 Gariep Karoo 251,666 142,553 57 10,729 8 2 97 Kalahari xeric savanna 685,551 183,555 27 12,277 7 2 98 Kaokoveld desert 33,039 20,806 63 20,767 100 1 102 Namaqualand-Richtersveld steppe 52,727 20,044 38 18,065 90 2 103 Namib Desert 79,116 79,118 100 72,427 92 1 104 Nambian savanna woodlands 102,712 56,391 55 31,704 56 3 Namibia Total 1,406,746 506,706 36 168,106 33   Country of Nepal   233 Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests 38,124 28,447 75 2,766 10 3 238 Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous 253,213 250 0 0 0 4 forests 287 Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous 262,642 25 0 0 0 4 forests 302 Himalayan subtropical pine forests 76,126 22,811 30 836 4 3 306 Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests 82,915 15,418 19 2,180 14 2 308 Western Himalayan broadleaf forests 55,825 4,809 9 913 19 3 309 Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer 27,436 4,928 18 2,778 56 2 forests 310 Western Himalayan subalpine conifer 39,650 12,080 30 1,753 15 4 forests 311 Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands 34,517 22,732 66 3,265 14 4 751 Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and 121,014 8,212 7 6,725 82 2 meadows 769 Western Himalayan alpine shrub and 70,090 21,243 30 7,593 36 3 meadows Nepal Total 1,061,552 140,954 13 28,810 20   Country of Bhutan 222 Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen 56,613 274 0 125 46 4 forests 233 Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests 38,124 4,143 11 1,090 26 3 302 Himalayan subtropical pine forests 76,126 671 1 244 36 3 306 Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests 82,915 16,198 20 4,079 25 2 309 Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer 27,436 9,232 34 6,031 65 2 forests 311 Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands 34,517 139 0 33 24 4 751 Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and 121,014 7,463 6 6,102 82 2 meadows Bhutan Total 436,745 38,119 9 17,704 46   Note: The protected status of many of these ecoregions is ahead of the global average because of ecoregional planning and the use of communal reserves and corridors in addition to strict protected areas. A map of these three countries and their protected areas can be found in figure 4. Global ecoregion protection status’ refers to 1 = Half Protected, 2 = Nature Could Reach Half, 3 = Nature Could Recover, 4 = Nature Imperiled. http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 541 Forum Box 1. Protecting half in a policy context. Nature Needs Half finds support in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among other items, the SDGs call on humanity to “take urgent and significant action to reduce degradation of natural habitats [and] … protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species” and to “halt deforestation” and “halt loss of biodiversity” by 2020. These internationally agreed-on conservation goals will be challenging to achieve without protecting in the realm of half. As such, we call on advocates and leaders around the world to set new global protected area targets accordingly: 50% of the terrestrial realm by 2050. Calls to increase the global area under protection should be considered in the context of other political mechanisms, such as interna- tional development funding (e.g., G20) and The Bonn Challenge. The Bonn Challenge, a global effort to restore millions of hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2020 or 2030, can be a critical mechanism in ecoregions falling under Nature Could Recover and Nature Imperiled. There are other opportunities to weave the 50% goal into the global economic and development fabric. For example, the “G20,” the world’s 20 largest economies, have called for as much as $60 trillion–$70 trillion in investment for large infrastructure projects (Foundation Earth 2015). Holistic ecoregional planning must be included to ensure that future infrastructure and cities are built in harmony with a world where nature receives half. A Paris-like deal that addresses biodiversity conservation at the highest political level—a Global Deal for Nature under the auspices of the CBD—is needed for nature conservation (for further details see www.resolv.org/blog/2017/global-deal-for-nature). An initia- tive of this scale would mobilize unprecedented financial resources to support countries to implement the goal of Half Protected. The estimated cost to add terrestrial protected areas, better protect existing reserves, and restore habitat varies by country, region, and ecoregion, ranging between $8 billion and $80 billion per year for the terrestrial realm (Balmford et al. 2003, McCarthy et al. 2012) and between $5 billion and $19 billion per year for the marine realm (Balmford et al. 2004). Implementing a Global Deal for Nature would employ a large number of currently unemployed or underemployed workers in rural communities. At the current rate, the amount of land under formal protection increases by about 4% per decade. If the rate of increase doubled to 8% or achieved 10% per decade, the global goal, supported by a Global Deal for Nature, could be within reach. message that can be easily understood by the general where to site extractive industries and develop large infra- public. It also provides the conservation movement with structure projects. a unifying goal. Incremental gains in global protection Providing clear implementation guidelines can help targets have proved insufficient in response to the magni- address weaknesses associated with NNH. For example, tude of the biodiversity crisis. Conservation efforts have insisting that NNH be empirically derived for each of the often been mired in process or targets that do not track world’s ecoregions is important. However, in trying to onto an ultimate conservation goal or vision statement erect a simple, science-based target that nonscientists can (Wilson 2016). NNH provides an endgame: Achieving understand—50% protected by 2050—the approach runs Half Protected will help realize the outcomes and objec- the risk of giving the misimpression that 50% is the “right” tives of maintaining a living biosphere, avoiding mass target for each ecoregion. In fact, the amount of habitat extinction, and preserving ecological processes that ben- that needs to be conserved in each region will vary. This efit all human societies. NNH also provides a goal and a guideline will help avoid pitfalls, such as a case in which planning framework under which all conservation efforts governments could assign large areas to be protected just to can fit. reach the 50% target (e.g., high-elevation rock and ice, bar- Importantly, 50% avoids setting targets too low and ren desert, contaminated areas, unproductive soils, or lands being surpassed by the synergistic effect of threats to nature of low economic value) without consideration of the design, from climate change and mass extinction. The recent through ecoregion strategies, of representative networks to Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework capture unique patterns of biodiversity. One clear guideline Convention on Climate Change provides targets for stabiliz- is that site selection is as important as total area protected ing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level in achieving conservation objectives (Margules and Pressey that prevents “dangerous anthropogenic interference with 2000). Tools such as ecoregion conservation planning, CEPF the climate system.” We contend that for the climate deal to hotspot profiles, Key Biodiversity Areas, and systematic succeed, we need a Global Deal for Nature (box 1). NNH conservation planning that focus on the quality or irreplace- provides a baseline from which we can monitor progress as ability of areas considered for protection will be most useful the environmental data sets are increasingly dynamic, annu- to avoid this danger (Margules and Pressey 2000, Myers et al. ally updated, and freely available and serve as a scorecard 2000, Eken et al. 2004, IUCN 2016). to underpin a Global Deal for Nature and assist the CBD A potential pitfall is that policymakers not well versed in measuring progress. Finally, NNH could help provide in ecosystem function might view NNH as license to clear government, lenders, citizens, and industry guidance about the other 50%. This would be a disaster in some ecoregions, 542 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum such as those in the Amazon and Congo Basins, that per- depopulation due to socioeconomic changes such as increas- form vital ecological roles only if contiguous forest cover is ing wages and career opportunities have resulted in rural maintained. Conservation planning will need to underpin populations moving to population centers; by 2050, 70% the implementation of NNH to avoid these abuses. of people will live in cities. This phenomenon, driven by Another concern is that the NNH approach risks overlook- economics, could lead to expansion of the protected area ing, however unintentionally, those 207 ecoregions deter- network and restoration of disturbed or abandoned lands mined by our analysis to average only 4% of remaining (Ellis et al. 2013). natural habitat outside protected areas that fall into the Nature Nature Needs Half is an ambitious goal that will allow Imperiled category. Where ecoregions contain global centers humanity to maintain a world with space for all life and of endemism but with only fragments of natural habitat the continuance of critical ecosystem services. Our findings remaining replete with irreplaceable sites, a concern is that show that a large number of ecoregions are Half Protected the global importance of these sites of rarity could be down- and that NNH is achievable in the vast majority of remain- played. Donors and agencies might concentrate on those ing ecoregions. However, achieving NNH requires further less biodiverse ecoregions but those likely to come closer to research into the desirability, feasibility, and progress toward achieving the 50% target. In most of these ecoregions, Key the goal at ecoregional and national scales. Here, we provide Biodiversity Areas, if properly conserved will protect the tools and information to chart progress toward NNH and biodiversity that remains (Eken et  al. 2004). CEPF profiles call on advocates and leaders around the world to set new should include all possible options for restoration (Butchart global protected area targets: 50% of the terrestrial realm et al. 2015). by 2050. Doing so through carefully balanced ecoregion A possible concern expressed by critics of Wilson (2016) plans that promote economic development while sustaining and of the NNH approach is that protecting half the terres- nature will also make the planet more livable for humanity trial realm adversely affects humans in remote regions (e.g., (Mulligan 2014, 2015). Büscher et  al. 2016). In contrast, implementing NNH is an opportunity to empower indigenous peoples and local com- Acknowledgments munities. Many indigenous reserves in Latin America, Asia, We dedicate this article to the inspirational efforts of Africa, and Australasia are an essential part of the formal Edward O. Wilson and his lifelong efforts to save bio- protection network, but the decisionmaking is in the hands diversity. We thank Linus Blomqvist, Julia John, Naomi of those within the reserves. Several indigenous communi- Kingston, James McNamara, Robin  Naidoo, Stuart Pimm, ties are also advocating for half their lands to be protected. Taylor  Robb-McCord, John  Robinson, and Chris  Stadler The Dehcho Dene in northern Canada, for example, has for their comments on the manuscript. We acknowl- articulated an explicit 50% protected goal for their own edge Tom  Allnutt, Nicola Bergh, Phil Clarke, Jon Fisher, territory (Norwegian 2005). For many groups, such as the Jane Glavan, Glen Griffith, Stephen Holness, Larry Kopold, Dehcho Dene, protecting half is an approach derived from Peter Stranger, Abdul Wali Al Khulaidi, James  Omernik, their traditional ecological knowledge. Conservation should Jon Oetting, Kate Parr, William J Platt, Amanda Recino, be achieved through careful planning while respecting Mathieu Rouget, Michael Rutherford, Leonardo Sotomayor, rights, improving livelihoods, and sharing decisionmaking. Aleks Terauds, Joseph W Veldman, and Crammy Wanyama for their review of ecoregion maps and mapping. Abu Dhabi Achieving Half Protected hinges on a reduction of Global Environmental Data Initiative and Saudi Wildlife human disturbance, sparing nature Authority provided b iogeographic data. Fortunately, two schools of thinking—how to save half for nature and how to feed and fuel advancing societies— are Supplemental material in growing concordance. As societies urbanize and develop, Supplementary data are available at BIOSCI online. there is a well-documented trend toward “decoupling”: an increasingly efficient use of land and resources that reduces environmental degradation (Ausubel 2000, Fischer-Kowalski References cited and Swilling 2011, Tilman et  al. 2011, Ausubel et  al. 2012). Ausubel JH. 2000. The great reversal: Nature’s chance to restore land and sea. Technology in Society 22: 289–301. 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Ambio 45: Joshi is a research associate and program coordinator at the Conservation 133–145. Biology Program at the University of Minnesota, in St. Paul. Neil D. Burgess Mora C, Tittensor DP, Adl S, Simpson AGB, Worm B. 2011. How many and Yara Shennan-Farpón are with the Science Programme at the United species are there on Earth and in the ocean? PLOS Biology 9 (art. Nations Environment Program–World Conservation Monitoring Centre, in e1001127). 544 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum Cambridge, United Kingdom. Prashant Hedao is in the Geography Graduate York. Rebecca Moore, David Thau, and Tanya Birch are with the Google Earth Group at the University of California, Davis. Reed Noss is a professor of biologi- Outreach and Google Earth Engine programs, in Mountain View, California. cal sciences at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando. 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Roeland Kindt is a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre, in Science and Technology in Society at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia. Nairobi, Kenya. Jens-Peter Barnekow Lillesø and Paulo van Breugel are at the Wes Sechrest is the chief scientist and CEO at Global Wildlife Conservation, University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. Lars Graudal is a senior advisor at the in Austin, Texas. Jonathan E. M. Baillie is chief scientist and senior vice University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, and science domain leader at ICRAF president at National Geographic Society, Washington, DC. Don Weeden is (the World Agroforestry Centre), in Nairobi. Maianna Voge is a geospatial ana- the executive director of the Weeden Foundation, in Bedford Hills, New York. lyst at Greeninfo Network. Khalaf F. Al-Shammari and Mohammed Saleem Kierán Suckling is the executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, are information specialists with the Environmental Information Unit of the in Tucson, Arizona. Nigel Sizer is president of the Rainforest Alliance, in New General Department of Studies and Research at the Saudi Wildlife Authority. http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 545 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Bioscience Pubmed Central

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Abstract

Forum An Ecoregion-Based Approach to Protecting Half the Terrestrial Realm ERIC DINERSTEIN, DAVID OLSON, ANUP JOSHI, CARLY VYNNE, NEIL D. BURGESS, ERIC WIKRAMANAYAKE, NATHAN HAHN, SUZANNE PALMINTERI, PRASHANT HEDAO, REED NOSS, MATT HANSEN, HARVEY LOCKE, ERLE C ELLIS, BENJAMIN JONES, CHARLES VICTOR BARBER, RANDY HAYES, CYRIL KORMOS, VANCE MARTIN, EILEEN CRIST, WES SECHREST, LORI PRICE, JONATHAN E. M. BAILLIE, DON WEEDEN, KIERÁN SUCKLING, CRYSTAL DAVIS, NIGEL SIZER, REBECCA MOORE, DAVID THAU, TANYA BIRCH, PETER POTAPOV, SVETLANA TURUBANOVA, ALEXANDRA TYUKAVINA, NADIA DE SOUZA, LILIAN PINTEA, JOSÉ C. BRITO, OTHMAN A. LLEWELLYN, ANTHONY G. MILLER, ANNETTE PATZELT, SHAHINA A. GHAZANFAR, JONATHAN TIMBERLAKE, HEINZ KLÖSER, YARA SHENNAN-FARPÓN, ROELAND KINDT, JENS-PETER BARNEKOW LILLESØ, PAULO van BREUGEL, LARS GRAUDAL, MAIANNA VOGE, KHALAF F. AL-SHAMMARI, AND MUHAMMAD SALEEM We assess progress toward the protection of 50%  of the terrestrial biosphere to address the species-extinction crisis and conserve a global ecological heritage for future generations. Using a map of Earth’s 846 terrestrial ecoregions, we show that 98 ecoregions (12%) exceed Half Protected; 313 ecoregions (37%) fall short of Half Protected but have sufficient unaltered habitat remaining to reach the target; and 207 ecoregions (24%) are in peril, where an average of only 4% of natural habitat remains. We propose a Global Deal for Nature—a companion to AQ1 the Paris Climate Deal—to promote increased habitat protection and restoration, national- and ecoregion-scale conservation strategies, and the empowerment of indigenous peoples to protect their sovereign lands. The goal of such an accord would be to protect half the terrestrial realm by 2050 to halt the extinction crisis while sustaining human livelihoods. Keywords: Nature Needs Half, Aichi target 11, ecoregions, protected areas, global biodiversity conservation strategies rotected areas are the cornerstone of biodiversity  achieve representation of all species or ecosystems in pro- Pconservation (Coetzee et  al. 2014, Wuerthner et  al. tected areas and the conservation of global biodiversity, as 2015). Where networks of protected areas are large, con- are required by the CBD (Noss et  al. 2012, Butchart et  al. nected, well managed, and distributed across diverse habi- 2015, Wilson 2016). In contrast, reviews of conservation tats, they sustain populations of threatened and functionally plans by Pressey and colleagues (2003) and Noss and col- important species and ecosystems more effectively than leagues (2012) demonstrated the scientific basis for a 50% other land uses (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, Gray et  al. protection target to achieve comprehensive biodiversity 2016). Protected areas also play an important role in climate- conservation. Authors of ecoregion-scale conservation plans change mitigation (Baker et  al. 2015, Melillo et  al. 2015). from a variety of habitats who empirically evaluated what Recognizing the importance of protected areas for conserv- is required to represent and protect habitat and ecosystems ing nature and its services, the Convention on Biological (including marine) have agreed on the need to conserve Diversity (CBD) established a goal to protect 17% of ter- about half of a given region (Noss and Cooperrider 1994, restrial land and inland water areas by 2020 through Aichi Pressey et al. 2003, Noss et al. 2012, O’Leary et al. 2016). target 11. To date, approximately 15% of global land is pro- More recently, the scientific basis for protecting half tected (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN 2016). the terrestrial realm was strengthened by Wilson’s (2016) Aichi target 11 is achievable but insufficient. Seventeen analysis of extinction in relation to area of natural habitat percent is not a science-based level of protection that will loss, of greatest concern in habitats rich in endemic species. BioScience 67: 534–545. © The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com doi:10.1093/biosci/bix014 Advance Access publication 5 April, 2017 534 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum Even before these biodiversity-based analyses of the land than 50% but more than 20%. Ecoregions in this category area required for conservation, Odum and Odum (1972) would require restoration to reach Half Protected because pointed to the need to conserve half of the land to main- the amount of available habitat outside protected areas tain ecosystem function for the benefit of humans. On the plus the existing protected areas is below 50%. (4) Nature question of how much to conserve, a species-conservation Imperiled: The sum of the amount of natural habitat remain- approach derived the same answer as an ecosystem-services ing and the amount of the total ecoregion that is protected is paradigm—a striking example of convergence. Therefore, less than or equal to 20%. the aspirational goal of 50% protected has emerged and the In many Nature Imperiled ecoregions, the remaining science codified in several advocacy and policy papers under habitat exists as a mosaic of isolated fragments insufficient the name Nature Needs Half (NNH; e.g., Locke 2013). in size and orientation to adequately conserve biodiver- Nature Needs Half addresses the spatial dimensions of sity (Wilson 2016). We recognize that in the most heavily conservation biology, which comprises four goals: (1) rep- altered ecoregions, achieving Half Protected is inconceivable resent all native ecosystem types and successional stages because of extreme rates of conversion. For example, in the across their natural range of variation, (2) maintain viable tall grass prairie ecoregions of the United States and Canada, populations of all native species in natural patterns of abun- 99% of the land area is devoted to agriculture—an active dance and distribution, (3) maintain ecological and evolu- land use that is unlikely to transition back to natural habitat. tionary processes, and (4) address environmental change To determine the shortcomings in conservation even to maintain the evolutionary potential of lineages (Noss where protected areas exist, we conducted a global survey and Cooperrider 1994). Here, we evaluate progress toward of terrestrial ecoregions for which strategies to achieve Nature Needs Half within the framework of ecoregions, long-term conservation goals have been developed. For each protected areas, and habitats. We answer two basic ques- strategy, we assessed the extent to which all four goals of tions that must be addressed: (1) Is the aspirational goal of biodiversity conservation are addressed (appendix S3). protecting half of nature in the terrestrial realm possible? (2) Which half should be protected, and how much of it has Evaluating protected area networks using already been conserved? ecoregions To address these questions and enhance systematic plan- The 2001 map of the terrestrial ecoregions of the world ning for terrestrial biodiversity conservation, we revised the (Olson et  al. 2001) facilitated the design of representative 2001 map of terrestrial ecoregions of the world (supplemental networks of protected areas. It has also been used to depict appendix S1; Olson et  al. 2001). We then determined the species distributions, to model the ecological impacts of extent of both protected areas and remaining natural habitat climate change, to develop landscape-scale conservation within each ecoregion. To designate the protected area net- plans, and to report on progress toward international targets. ©Resolve work, we used the World Database of Protected Areas (UNEP- The revised map, named Ecoregions2017 , that is the WCMC 2016), which is inclusive of International Union of basis for this scheme is unchanged for large sections of the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories I to VI (Dudley seven biogeographical realms but differs from the original 2008), as well as many community conservancies, aboriginal map in four regions: the Arabian Peninsula, some of the des- ownership, and private lands without an IUCN category. To ert and drier ecoregions of the African continent, Antarctica, assess habitat, we used tree-cover maps in forested ecoregions and the southeastern United States (figure 1). Further details (Hansen et al. 2013) and excluded globally significant patterns and justification for changes are presented in supplemental of human land use and populations (anthropogenic biomes, appendix S1. or “Anthromes”) in nonforested ecoregions (Ellis et  al. 2010; Calculating the extent of protection by ecoregion and detailed methods in supplemental appendix S2). biome provides a scorecard to measure progress toward Half We conducted this analysis across all 846 terrestrial ecore- Protected (table 1, figure 2). Summing across all 14  biomes gions distributed among the Earth’s 14 terrestrial biomes and their constituent 846 ecoregions, 98 ecoregions (12%) (supplemental appendix S1). We then sorted ecoregions have already achieved Half Protected. The largest category into four categories defined by the extent of both remaining is Nature Could Reach Half, with 313 ecoregions (37%), natural habitat and protected land: followed by the 228 ecoregions classified as Nature Could (1) Half Protected: More than 50% of the total ecore- Recover (27%). Half Protected remains a reasonable goal in gion area is protected. (2) Nature Could Reach Half: Less these regions. Within Nature Could Reach Half, 119 (38%) than 50% of the total ecoregion area is protected but the ecoregions have greater than 20% of their land area protected; sum of total ecoregion protected and unprotected natural the remaining 194 ecoregions (62%) have limited coverage of habitat remaining is more than 50%. Ecoregions in this protected areas but retain considerable intact natural habitat. category have enough remaining natural habitat to reach To achieve Half Protected, these 313 regions require only an Half Protected if additional protected areas or other types of expansion of their protected area network. The remaining conservation areas are added to the system. (3) Nature Could 207 ecoregions (24%) classified as Nature Imperiled have lit- Recover: The sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining tle natural habitat and will require intensive efforts to achieve and the amount of the total ecoregion that is protected is less Half Protected or even to conserve the fraction that remains. http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 535 Forum ©Resolve Figure 1. The 846 global ecoregions that comprise Ecoregions2017 nested within 14 terrestrial biomes. An interactive map is available at ecoregions2017.appspot.com. (A companion biome map is presented in supplemental appendix S1, supplemental figure S1). Analyses conducted at a global scale inevitably involve Nature Could Reach Half (many of which already exceed error. Here, we were unable to differentiate “paper parks”— Aichi target 11). Of the best-protected ecoregions, the designated protected areas that remain unprotected because majority (15) occur in the Neotropics, followed by the of lack of enforcement—from those that are well managed. Indomalayan realm (11; figure 2). Protected areas subjected to severe bushmeat-hunting pres- In contrast to the moist forests, the tropical and subtropi- sures or overgrazing by domestic livestock are also ignored cal dry broadleaf forest is the most endangered biome on at this scale, although these are major threats. There are also Earth; only 2 ecoregions (among 56) are Half Protected, protected areas where activities (e.g., industrial extraction) 20 are Nature Could Recover, and 26 are Nature Imperiled. have been expressly allowed by governments even though The temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome has the these activities are plainly inconsistent with conservation second largest number of ecoregions (83) but shows a distri- objectives. We elucidate the major sources of error, including bution of protection categories skewed toward those needing the assessments of tree-cover change and land-cover classes, restoration: Nature Could Recover and Nature Imperiled. in supplemental appendix S2. The boreal forest ecoregions are among the largest and have the greatest potential to reach Half Protected because of Forested ecoregions and biomes. The 476 forested ecoregions their vast remaining intact forest blocks. are distributed unevenly among each of the four catego- The majority of mangrove ecoregions fall into the cat- ries of protection: 40 (8%) achieve Half Protected; 198 and egories of Half Protected or Nature Could Reach Half. The 130  fall into Nature Could Have Half and Nature Could remaining mangrove ecoregions are degraded but can recover Recover categories, respectively; and 108 are classified as through restoration (table 1, supplemental appendix S2). Nature Imperiled. The Nature Imperiled category includes 108 (23%) forest The tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests ecoregions (n = 476; table 1; supplemental appendix S2, biome has more species and ecoregions than any other supplemental table S1a, S1b). Assessing recent trends in tree on Earth. Covering only 14% of the Earth’s land area, this cover, of the 16 forest ecoregions with the greatest extent of biome supports at least 50% of the world’s species (table tree loss between 2000 and 2014 (ranging from 20% to 86%), 1), many of which have likely yet to be discovered (Mora 9 are in the Afrotropics, and 4 are in the Indo-Malayan realm et al. 2011). Fortunately, over half (61%; 140) of the ecore- of India. Deforestation was greatest in the Nigerian lowland gions within this species-rich biome (n = 230) fall into the forests and the Cross-Niger transition forests. Half Protected or Nature Could Reach Half category: 24 (10%) ecoregions have achieved Half Protected (table 1, Nonforested ecoregions and biomes. The protected area supplemental appendix S2), and 116 (50%) have achieved network is far less extensive in nonforested biomes. The 536 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum Table 1. Progress toward Nature Needs Half by biome, showing the number of ecoregions in each category, based on habitat protected and habitat remaining. Biome name and number Percentage Mean (1) Half (2) Nature (3) Nature (4) Nature Total of Earth’s percentage Protected Could Reach Could Imperiled terrestrial of protected Half Recover area within biome Forested biomes 1. Tropical and subtropical 14.4 12 24 116 46 44 230 moist broadleaf forests 2. Tropical and subtropical dry 2.9 8 2 8 20 26 56 broadleaf forests 3. Tropical and subtropical 0.5 12 1 6 7 1 15 coniferous forests 4. Temperate broadleaf and 9.3 10 7 21 30 25 83 mixed forests 5. Temperate conifer forests 2.8 17 2 16 19 10 47 6. Boreal forests or taiga 11.4 9 1 23 2 0 26 14. Mangroves 0.2 26 3 8 6 2 19 Forested biome subtotal 41.5 13 40 198 130 108 476 Nonforested biomes 7. Tropical and subtropical 15.8 15 5 14 18 20 57 grasslands, savannas, and shrublands 8. Temperate grasslands, 7.8 4 0 11 13 24 48 savannas, and shrublands 9. Flooded Grasslands and 0.9 32 8 4 9 4 25 Savannas 10. Montane grasslands and 3.6 25 9 11 14 12 46 shrublands 11. Tundra 8.7 8 26 24 0 1 51 12. Mediterranean forests, 2.4 18 2 5 25 8 40 woodlands, and scrub 13. Deserts and xeric 19.3 6 8 46 19 30 103 shrublands Nonforested biome subtotal 58.5 10 58 115 98 99 370 Total 100 12 98 313 228 207 846 Note: The ecoregion data can be found in supplemental tables S1 and S2. (1) Half Protected: 50% or more of the total ecoregion area is protected. (2) Nature Could Reach Half: Less than 50% of the total ecoregion area is protected, but the sum of the total ecoregion protected and unprotected natural habitat remaining is 50% or more. (3) Nature Could Recover: The sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining and the amount of the ecoregion that is protected is less than 50% but more than 20%. (4) Nature Imperiled: The sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining and the amount of the ecoregion that is protected is less than or equal to 20%. tundra biome is best protected among the seven non- a dominant feature in the large majority of ecoregions, as forested biomes: 26 of the 51 tundra ecoregions (51%) has also been shown by Venter and colleagues (2016). In fall under Half Protected, and another 24 ecoregions the 207 Nature Imperiled ecoregions, an average of 96% (47%) are in Nature Could Reach Half. Desert and xeric of natural habitat has been converted to an anthropogenic shrubland ecoregions also have expansive networks of land use. Many of the fragments in these ecoregions are of protected areas and large swaths of natural habitat disproportionately high biodiversity value. Here, protecting remaining: over half fall into Half Protected or Nature Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) will be cr ucial, and the goal Could Reach Half (figure 2). Ecoregions in the remaining of NNH remains aspirational and of secondary concern to nonforested biomes have been more heavily degraded: 99 protecting what remains (Eken et al. 2004). (27%) nonforested ecoregions were categorized as Nature Forested and nonforested biomes are evenly represented Imperiled. in the Nature Imperiled category (table 1). Hoekstra and colleagues (2005) described the temperate grasslands, savan- Human impact and revisiting the most endangered biomes on nas, and shrublands biome as the most endangered in the Earth. Land-use change as a result of human activities is world. However, our results show that the most critically http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 537 Forum Figure 2. The protection statuses of ecoregions of the world. This map shows the high levels of habitat remaining in some of the most species-rich areas on Earth, including the Brazilian Amazon, the Congo basin, and the islands of Indonesia. Although enough habitat remains for nearly half of the ecoregions to exceed 50% protected in the coming decades, much of this forest is still unprotected, and just under 50% of ecoregions have adequate conservation plans in place to keep remaining forests intact (supplemental appendix S3). The numbers in parentheses for each category represent the entire number of ecoregions found in each category. The ecoregion protection categories are defined as the following: Half Protected, more than 50% protected; Nature Could Reach Half, less than 50% of the total ecoregion area is protected, but the sum of the total ecoregion protected and unprotected natural habitat remaining is more than 50%; Nature Could Recover, the sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining and the amount of the total ecoregion that is protected is less than 50% but more than 20%; Nature Imperiled, the sum of the amount of natural habitat remaining and the amount of the total ecoregion that is protected is less than or equal to 20%. endangered biome—as is determined by the proportion of Beyond Aichi targets: Toward Half Protected Nature Imperiled ecoregions that constitute each—is the The need to go beyond Aichi protection targets was approved tropical dry forests, whereas two nonforested biomes are by delegates at the 2014 IUCN World Parks Congress. They nearly as endangered: (1) tropical and subtropical grass- further decided that the total area of protected areas and lands, savannas, and shrublands and (2) Mediterranean connectivity lands needs to be far higher than current con- forests, woodlands, and scrub. ceptions and agreed on the importance of setting ambitious Without considering fine-scale endemism and beta- targets (IUCN 2014). Results from our global assessment sug- diversity (turnover of species with distance or along gradi- gest that the ambitious target of protecting half of terrestrial ents), simple metrics of habitat loss and percent protection nature is attainable for many of the Earth’s more intact ecore- may underestimate the conservation crisis among biomes. gions. Among the 846 ecoregions, 98 (12%) occupy the Half Biodiversity loss would therefore be much greater and more Protected category. Although these ecoregions are largely sensitive to habitat conversion in tropical and subtropical concentrated in two biomes—tropical and subtropical moist grasslands, savannas, and shrublands; in Mediterranean for- forest and tundra—there is at least one ecoregion achieving ests, woodlands, and scrub; and in tropical moist and tropi- this status in 12 of the 14 biomes. Within Nature Could Reach cal dry forests. These four biomes support higher endemism Half (n = 313), 26 ecoregions (8%) are at least 40% protected and greater beta-diversity levels than those found in other and therefore require modest additional protection to reach biomes. Half Protected in each. These and the other 287 ecoregions constituting the Nature Could Reach Half category provide 538 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum and Bhutan—are worth singling out as compelling examples of where effective implementation embodies key principles of biodiversity conservation. They also refute some of the criticisms raised over the NNH approach that (a) it could dis- place rather than empower indigenous communities, (b) it is a paradigm only suitable for wealthy countries, and (c) it can only succeed in sparsely populated, remote ecoregions. Namibia’s conservation strategy includes conservation areas managed by local communities alongside govern- ment-run strict nature reserves across all its ecoregions. These communities are awarded autonomy to manage vast tracts of land for wildlife conservation and income generation, in large part by Figure 3. The proportion of biodiversity goals addressed within available allowing communities to own the wild- conservation plans for all 846 ecoregions, distributed across the four protection- life. Now widely touted as a success story status categories. The colors represent the percentage of conservation strategies in global conservation, these lands were addressed within each protection-status category: 0 goals addressed, red; 1 goal largely defaunated through poaching addressed, yellow; 2 goals addressed, orange; 3 goals addressed, light green; 4 only 25 years ago. Community-managed goals addressed, dark green. For a detailed list of conservation strategies and lands, called communal conservancies, sources, see supplemental appendix S3. now contribute to Namibia’s national protected area network, which covers the greatest conservation opportunity, because adequate 47% of the country. Communal conservancies range in size 2 2 habitat remains to reach Half Protected. These ecoregions from 43 square kilometers (km ) to 9120 km (the mean are found within every biome and should rank high in the being 1953 km ). In fact, many conservancies function as formulation of the next Aichi target 11 post-2020. vital corridors connecting other protected areas and allow- Because Aichi target 11 requires protected area networks ing dispersal, movement, and range recovery of large mam- to be ecologically representative, an ecoregion assessment mals, including elephants, lions, and others that are in steep provides an indispensable tool for meeting the new targets decline elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa (figure 4a; Naidoo to be set in 2020. Greater effort is needed to complete et al. 2016). these ecoregion strategies. For example, only 94 of the In Nepal, ecoregion conservation strategies that involve 846 terrestrial ecoregions (11%) have published plans that local communities are the rule and complement the coun- address all four biodiversity conservation goals (figure  3; try’s strictly protected areas. In the lowlands and midlands, see supplemental appendix S3 for methods). Formal community forestry and agroforestry in designated land- conservation strategies that address three-fourths of the scapes yield economic returns while strategically extending biodiversity conservation goals were published for 22% habitat and connectivity among reserves (figure 4b, table of ecoregions globally. Most of these strategies focus on 2; Wikramanayake et  al. 2010). Community-managed for- identifying priority areas for protection and on conserving est parcels are small—some are as little as 20 hectares in species of conservation concern (figure 3). Notably, a high size—but abundant and interspersed among larger protected percentage of ecoregions in the Nature Imperiled category areas, often facilitating population recovery of endangered have plans that address all four conservation goals. This large mammals (Wikramanayake et  al. 2010). Community is because biodiversity hotspots—biologically rich areas forests, linked together to form corridors, play a pivotal role containing less than 30% of the original habitat—are in landscape conservation. Handing over forest management explicitly targeted by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund to communities, which then receive 50% of the revenue gen- (CEPF) profiles (Myers et  al. 2000, Olson 2010). Of great erated by wildlife parks in designated buffer zones, led to a concern are the 337 ecoregions that lack biodiversity plans 61% increase in tigers and a 31% increase in rhinos over a ( supplemental appendix S3). 5-year period (2008–2013). No rhinos, tigers, or elephants Robust ecoregion strategies must be followed by effective have been poached in Nepal in several years (Dhakal et  al. implementation to realize biodiversity conservation goals 2014). formulated at a national scale. Three countries advancing In the Himalayan and trans-Himalayan ecoregions to or already surpassing Half Protected—Namibia, Nepal, overlapping Nepal, conservation areas managed by local http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 539 Forum Figure 4a–c. Ecoregion conservation planning in three developing countries: (a) Namibia uses communal conservation areas to extend protection beyond protected areas and cover a diverse set of ecoregions, (b) Nepal uses a mixture of protected areas and conservation landscapes to protect along north–south and east–west gradients, and (c) Bhutan uses protected areas combined with biological corridors to provide connectivity between protected areas and across ecoregions. communities exceed in area the land under national-park temperate broadleaf forests, which are so heavily con- status and some, such as the Annapurna Conservation Area, verted elsewhere, are particularly well protected. Bhutan, return large sums of tourism-generated revenues annually as with Nepal, ranks among the nations with the lowest to local funds. These are sparsely populated ecoregions. In per capita GDP but protects enough habitat to conserve contrast, the protected areas and community forests of the biodiversity (Dinerstein 2013). Terai-Duar savannas ecoregion in Nepal are intermingled All three examples stress core protected areas, buffer with some of the highest rural population densities on Earth. zones, and connectivity—all key components of ecoregion In this densely settled, productive ecoregion situated on conservation strategies and securing biodiversity. The first alluvial soils, there is room for intensive rice production and two examples illustrate how extensive areas can be put under park protection (Dinerstein et  al. 1999), the latter of which conservation management by engaging local communi- returns more than $1 million annually to local development ties. The example of Bhutan offers a different mechanism funds in demarcated buffer zones. through constitutional decree. Both approaches work. Bhutan protects 51% of its land through national parks and corridors connecting reserves (figure 4c, table 2). In Strengths and weaknesses of the Nature Needs Half a novel policy framework, Bhutan’s constitution requires approach to conserving half the terrestrial realm that at least 60% of the country remains forested (cur- NNH, like any paradigm, has strengths and weaknesses. rently, forest cover is estimated at 72%). Mid-elevation NNH offers a simple, inspirational, and science-based 540 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum Table 2. The conservation status of ecoregions within the countries of Namibia, Nepal, and Bhutan. Ecoregion Ecoregion Global Ecoregion Percentage Country’s Percentage Global number ecoregion area within of global area of ecoregion area country ecoregion protected country’s protection 2 2 (km ) (km ) area in IUCN ecoregions status cateogry protected I-VI (km ) Country of Namibia   34 Angolan mopane woodlands 191,639 151,443 79 66,620 44 2 47 Kalahari Acacia woodlands 106,411 68,004 64 46,214 68 1 64 Zambezian Baikiaea woodlands 358,546 86,277 24 20,469 24 2 65 Zambezian mopane woodlands 387,596 4,724 1 2,569 54 2 70 Etosha Pan halophytics 7,691 7,688 100 7,457 97 1 76 Zambezian flooded grasslands 201,936 4,239 2 2,137 50 1 94 Gariep Karoo 251,666 142,553 57 10,729 8 2 97 Kalahari xeric savanna 685,551 183,555 27 12,277 7 2 98 Kaokoveld desert 33,039 20,806 63 20,767 100 1 102 Namaqualand-Richtersveld steppe 52,727 20,044 38 18,065 90 2 103 Namib Desert 79,116 79,118 100 72,427 92 1 104 Nambian savanna woodlands 102,712 56,391 55 31,704 56 3 Namibia Total 1,406,746 506,706 36 168,106 33   Country of Nepal   233 Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests 38,124 28,447 75 2,766 10 3 238 Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous 253,213 250 0 0 0 4 forests 287 Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous 262,642 25 0 0 0 4 forests 302 Himalayan subtropical pine forests 76,126 22,811 30 836 4 3 306 Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests 82,915 15,418 19 2,180 14 2 308 Western Himalayan broadleaf forests 55,825 4,809 9 913 19 3 309 Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer 27,436 4,928 18 2,778 56 2 forests 310 Western Himalayan subalpine conifer 39,650 12,080 30 1,753 15 4 forests 311 Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands 34,517 22,732 66 3,265 14 4 751 Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and 121,014 8,212 7 6,725 82 2 meadows 769 Western Himalayan alpine shrub and 70,090 21,243 30 7,593 36 3 meadows Nepal Total 1,061,552 140,954 13 28,810 20   Country of Bhutan 222 Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen 56,613 274 0 125 46 4 forests 233 Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests 38,124 4,143 11 1,090 26 3 302 Himalayan subtropical pine forests 76,126 671 1 244 36 3 306 Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests 82,915 16,198 20 4,079 25 2 309 Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer 27,436 9,232 34 6,031 65 2 forests 311 Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands 34,517 139 0 33 24 4 751 Eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and 121,014 7,463 6 6,102 82 2 meadows Bhutan Total 436,745 38,119 9 17,704 46   Note: The protected status of many of these ecoregions is ahead of the global average because of ecoregional planning and the use of communal reserves and corridors in addition to strict protected areas. A map of these three countries and their protected areas can be found in figure 4. Global ecoregion protection status’ refers to 1 = Half Protected, 2 = Nature Could Reach Half, 3 = Nature Could Recover, 4 = Nature Imperiled. http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 541 Forum Box 1. Protecting half in a policy context. Nature Needs Half finds support in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among other items, the SDGs call on humanity to “take urgent and significant action to reduce degradation of natural habitats [and] … protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species” and to “halt deforestation” and “halt loss of biodiversity” by 2020. These internationally agreed-on conservation goals will be challenging to achieve without protecting in the realm of half. As such, we call on advocates and leaders around the world to set new global protected area targets accordingly: 50% of the terrestrial realm by 2050. Calls to increase the global area under protection should be considered in the context of other political mechanisms, such as interna- tional development funding (e.g., G20) and The Bonn Challenge. The Bonn Challenge, a global effort to restore millions of hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2020 or 2030, can be a critical mechanism in ecoregions falling under Nature Could Recover and Nature Imperiled. There are other opportunities to weave the 50% goal into the global economic and development fabric. For example, the “G20,” the world’s 20 largest economies, have called for as much as $60 trillion–$70 trillion in investment for large infrastructure projects (Foundation Earth 2015). Holistic ecoregional planning must be included to ensure that future infrastructure and cities are built in harmony with a world where nature receives half. A Paris-like deal that addresses biodiversity conservation at the highest political level—a Global Deal for Nature under the auspices of the CBD—is needed for nature conservation (for further details see www.resolv.org/blog/2017/global-deal-for-nature). An initia- tive of this scale would mobilize unprecedented financial resources to support countries to implement the goal of Half Protected. The estimated cost to add terrestrial protected areas, better protect existing reserves, and restore habitat varies by country, region, and ecoregion, ranging between $8 billion and $80 billion per year for the terrestrial realm (Balmford et al. 2003, McCarthy et al. 2012) and between $5 billion and $19 billion per year for the marine realm (Balmford et al. 2004). Implementing a Global Deal for Nature would employ a large number of currently unemployed or underemployed workers in rural communities. At the current rate, the amount of land under formal protection increases by about 4% per decade. If the rate of increase doubled to 8% or achieved 10% per decade, the global goal, supported by a Global Deal for Nature, could be within reach. message that can be easily understood by the general where to site extractive industries and develop large infra- public. It also provides the conservation movement with structure projects. a unifying goal. Incremental gains in global protection Providing clear implementation guidelines can help targets have proved insufficient in response to the magni- address weaknesses associated with NNH. For example, tude of the biodiversity crisis. Conservation efforts have insisting that NNH be empirically derived for each of the often been mired in process or targets that do not track world’s ecoregions is important. However, in trying to onto an ultimate conservation goal or vision statement erect a simple, science-based target that nonscientists can (Wilson 2016). NNH provides an endgame: Achieving understand—50% protected by 2050—the approach runs Half Protected will help realize the outcomes and objec- the risk of giving the misimpression that 50% is the “right” tives of maintaining a living biosphere, avoiding mass target for each ecoregion. In fact, the amount of habitat extinction, and preserving ecological processes that ben- that needs to be conserved in each region will vary. This efit all human societies. NNH also provides a goal and a guideline will help avoid pitfalls, such as a case in which planning framework under which all conservation efforts governments could assign large areas to be protected just to can fit. reach the 50% target (e.g., high-elevation rock and ice, bar- Importantly, 50% avoids setting targets too low and ren desert, contaminated areas, unproductive soils, or lands being surpassed by the synergistic effect of threats to nature of low economic value) without consideration of the design, from climate change and mass extinction. The recent through ecoregion strategies, of representative networks to Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework capture unique patterns of biodiversity. One clear guideline Convention on Climate Change provides targets for stabiliz- is that site selection is as important as total area protected ing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level in achieving conservation objectives (Margules and Pressey that prevents “dangerous anthropogenic interference with 2000). Tools such as ecoregion conservation planning, CEPF the climate system.” We contend that for the climate deal to hotspot profiles, Key Biodiversity Areas, and systematic succeed, we need a Global Deal for Nature (box 1). NNH conservation planning that focus on the quality or irreplace- provides a baseline from which we can monitor progress as ability of areas considered for protection will be most useful the environmental data sets are increasingly dynamic, annu- to avoid this danger (Margules and Pressey 2000, Myers et al. ally updated, and freely available and serve as a scorecard 2000, Eken et al. 2004, IUCN 2016). to underpin a Global Deal for Nature and assist the CBD A potential pitfall is that policymakers not well versed in measuring progress. Finally, NNH could help provide in ecosystem function might view NNH as license to clear government, lenders, citizens, and industry guidance about the other 50%. This would be a disaster in some ecoregions, 542 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum such as those in the Amazon and Congo Basins, that per- depopulation due to socioeconomic changes such as increas- form vital ecological roles only if contiguous forest cover is ing wages and career opportunities have resulted in rural maintained. Conservation planning will need to underpin populations moving to population centers; by 2050, 70% the implementation of NNH to avoid these abuses. of people will live in cities. This phenomenon, driven by Another concern is that the NNH approach risks overlook- economics, could lead to expansion of the protected area ing, however unintentionally, those 207 ecoregions deter- network and restoration of disturbed or abandoned lands mined by our analysis to average only 4% of remaining (Ellis et al. 2013). natural habitat outside protected areas that fall into the Nature Nature Needs Half is an ambitious goal that will allow Imperiled category. Where ecoregions contain global centers humanity to maintain a world with space for all life and of endemism but with only fragments of natural habitat the continuance of critical ecosystem services. Our findings remaining replete with irreplaceable sites, a concern is that show that a large number of ecoregions are Half Protected the global importance of these sites of rarity could be down- and that NNH is achievable in the vast majority of remain- played. Donors and agencies might concentrate on those ing ecoregions. However, achieving NNH requires further less biodiverse ecoregions but those likely to come closer to research into the desirability, feasibility, and progress toward achieving the 50% target. In most of these ecoregions, Key the goal at ecoregional and national scales. Here, we provide Biodiversity Areas, if properly conserved will protect the tools and information to chart progress toward NNH and biodiversity that remains (Eken et  al. 2004). CEPF profiles call on advocates and leaders around the world to set new should include all possible options for restoration (Butchart global protected area targets: 50% of the terrestrial realm et al. 2015). by 2050. Doing so through carefully balanced ecoregion A possible concern expressed by critics of Wilson (2016) plans that promote economic development while sustaining and of the NNH approach is that protecting half the terres- nature will also make the planet more livable for humanity trial realm adversely affects humans in remote regions (e.g., (Mulligan 2014, 2015). Büscher et  al. 2016). In contrast, implementing NNH is an opportunity to empower indigenous peoples and local com- Acknowledgments munities. Many indigenous reserves in Latin America, Asia, We dedicate this article to the inspirational efforts of Africa, and Australasia are an essential part of the formal Edward O. Wilson and his lifelong efforts to save bio- protection network, but the decisionmaking is in the hands diversity. We thank Linus Blomqvist, Julia John, Naomi of those within the reserves. Several indigenous communi- Kingston, James McNamara, Robin  Naidoo, Stuart Pimm, ties are also advocating for half their lands to be protected. Taylor  Robb-McCord, John  Robinson, and Chris  Stadler The Dehcho Dene in northern Canada, for example, has for their comments on the manuscript. We acknowl- articulated an explicit 50% protected goal for their own edge Tom  Allnutt, Nicola Bergh, Phil Clarke, Jon Fisher, territory (Norwegian 2005). For many groups, such as the Jane Glavan, Glen Griffith, Stephen Holness, Larry Kopold, Dehcho Dene, protecting half is an approach derived from Peter Stranger, Abdul Wali Al Khulaidi, James  Omernik, their traditional ecological knowledge. Conservation should Jon Oetting, Kate Parr, William J Platt, Amanda Recino, be achieved through careful planning while respecting Mathieu Rouget, Michael Rutherford, Leonardo Sotomayor, rights, improving livelihoods, and sharing decisionmaking. Aleks Terauds, Joseph W Veldman, and Crammy Wanyama for their review of ecoregion maps and mapping. Abu Dhabi Achieving Half Protected hinges on a reduction of Global Environmental Data Initiative and Saudi Wildlife human disturbance, sparing nature Authority provided b iogeographic data. Fortunately, two schools of thinking—how to save half for nature and how to feed and fuel advancing societies— are Supplemental material in growing concordance. As societies urbanize and develop, Supplementary data are available at BIOSCI online. there is a well-documented trend toward “decoupling”: an increasingly efficient use of land and resources that reduces environmental degradation (Ausubel 2000, Fischer-Kowalski References cited and Swilling 2011, Tilman et  al. 2011, Ausubel et  al. 2012). Ausubel JH. 2000. The great reversal: Nature’s chance to restore land and sea. Technology in Society 22: 289–301. 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Ambio 45: Joshi is a research associate and program coordinator at the Conservation 133–145. Biology Program at the University of Minnesota, in St. Paul. Neil D. Burgess Mora C, Tittensor DP, Adl S, Simpson AGB, Worm B. 2011. How many and Yara Shennan-Farpón are with the Science Programme at the United species are there on Earth and in the ocean? PLOS Biology 9 (art. Nations Environment Program–World Conservation Monitoring Centre, in e1001127). 544 BioScience • June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org Forum Cambridge, United Kingdom. Prashant Hedao is in the Geography Graduate York. Rebecca Moore, David Thau, and Tanya Birch are with the Google Earth Group at the University of California, Davis. Reed Noss is a professor of biologi- Outreach and Google Earth Engine programs, in Mountain View, California. cal sciences at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando. Matthew Hansen Lilian Pintea is the vice president for science at the Jane Goodall Institute, in is a remote sensing scientist at the University of Maryland, in College Park. Vienna, Virginia. José C. Brito is a researcher with CIBIO–InBIO, in Vairão, Harvey Locke is cofounder of the Nature Needs Half Movement and cofounder Portugal. Othman A. Llewellyn is an environmental planner in the Department and strategic advisor of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, in of Protected Area Planning at the Saudi Wildlife Authority, in Saudi Arabia. Banff, Alberta. Erle C. Ellis is a professor of geography and environmental Anthony G. Miller is the director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants at systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Charles Victor the Royal Botanic Garden, in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Annette Patzelt is Barber is the director of the Forest Legality Initiative, Crystal Davis is the the scientific director at the Oman Botanic Garden, in the Sultanate of Oman. director of Global Forest Watch, and Benjamin Jones is a senior fellow at World Shahina A. Ghazanfar is research leader in identification and naming—Asia Resources Institute, Washington, DC. Randy Hayes is the executive director of and Jonathan Timberlake is a botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, in Kew, Foundation Earth, in Washington, DC. Cyril Kormos and Vance Martin are Surrey, United Kingdom. Heinz Klöser is at the Alfred Wegener Institute vice president for policy and president, respectively, at the Wild Foundation, in Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, in Bremerhaven, Bremen, Boulder, Colorado. Eileen Crist is an associate professor in the Department of Germany. Roeland Kindt is a scientist at the World Agroforestry Centre, in Science and Technology in Society at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia. Nairobi, Kenya. Jens-Peter Barnekow Lillesø and Paulo van Breugel are at the Wes Sechrest is the chief scientist and CEO at Global Wildlife Conservation, University of Copenhagen, in Denmark. Lars Graudal is a senior advisor at the in Austin, Texas. Jonathan E. M. Baillie is chief scientist and senior vice University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, and science domain leader at ICRAF president at National Geographic Society, Washington, DC. Don Weeden is (the World Agroforestry Centre), in Nairobi. Maianna Voge is a geospatial ana- the executive director of the Weeden Foundation, in Bedford Hills, New York. lyst at Greeninfo Network. Khalaf F. Al-Shammari and Mohammed Saleem Kierán Suckling is the executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, are information specialists with the Environmental Information Unit of the in Tucson, Arizona. Nigel Sizer is president of the Rainforest Alliance, in New General Department of Studies and Research at the Saudi Wildlife Authority. http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org June 2017 / Vol. 67 No. 6 • BioScience 545

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Published: Apr 5, 2017

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