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Global shortfalls in documented actions to conserve biodiversity

Senior, Rebecca A.; Bagwyn, Ruby; Leng, Danyan; Killion, Alexander K.; Jetz, Walter; Wilcove, David S.

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Ruby Bagwyn

Danyan Leng

Alexander K. Killion

Walter Jetz

David S. Wilcove


Threatened species are by definition species that are in need of assistance. In the absence of suitable conservation interventions, they are likely to disappear soon1. There is limited understanding of how and where conservation interventions are applied globally, or how well they work2, 3. Here, using information from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List and other global databases, we find that for species at risk from three of the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss—habitat loss, overexploitation for international trade and invasive species4—many appear to lack the appropriate types of conservation interventions. Indeed, although there has been substantial recent expansion of the protected area network, we still find that 91% of threatened species have insufficient representation of their habitats within protected areas. Conservation interventions are not implemented uniformly across different taxa and regions and, even when present, have infrequently led to substantial improvements in the status of species. For 58% of the world’s threatened terrestrial species, we find conservation interventions to be notably insufficient or absent. We cannot determine whether such species are truly neglected, or whether efforts to recover them are not included in major conservation databases. If they are indeed neglected, the outlook for many of the world’s threatened species is grim without more and better targeted action.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 1, 2024
Online Publication Date Jun 5, 2024
Publication Date Jun 5, 2024
Deposit Date Jul 1, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jul 1, 2024
Journal Nature
Print ISSN 0028-0836
Publisher Nature Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 630
Issue 8016
Pages 387-391
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