Report

Achieving the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Goals for Plant Conservation

Science  06 Sep 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6150, pp. 1100-1103
DOI: 10.1126/science.1241706

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Plant Protection

The Convention on Biological Diversity's 20 Aichi Targets, agreed in October 2010, extend to 2020 an international commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity. Using data from “The Plant List” (www.theplantlist.org), Joppa et al. (p. 1100), show that ∼65% of plant species are endemic to 17% of the terrestrial land surface and include many islands, with mainland contributions concentrated heavily in central and southern America and Asia. These regions include 75% of all plant species. These regions are also important for terrestrial vertebrates—containing most of all—bird, mammal, and amphibian species, but less than one-sixth of this land surface is under protection.

Abstract

Identifying which areas capture how many species is the first question in conservation planning. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aspires to formal protection of at least 17% of the terrestrial world and, through the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, 60% of plant species. Are these targets of protecting area and species compatible? We show that 67% of plant species live entirely within regions that comprise 17% of the land surface. Moreover, these regions include most terrestrial vertebrates with small geographical ranges. However, the connections between the CBD targets of protecting area and species are complex. Achieving both targets will be difficult because regions with the most plant species have only slightly more land protected than do those with fewer.

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