Refereed Article What is the Role of the Key Biodiversity Areas Program in Effective Conservation Planning?

Citation: Knight A.T., R.J. Smith, R.M. Cowling, P.G. Desmet, Faith D.P., S. Ferrier, C.M. Gelderblom, H. Grantham, A.T. Lombard, J.D. Parrish, K. Maze, J. Nel, G.Q.K. Pence, B. Reyers, M. Rouget, D. Roux and K.A. Wilson. 2007. What is the Role of the Key Biodiversity Areas Program in Effective Conservation Planning?. Bioscience. 57. 256-261.


The key biodiversity areas (KBA) approach aims to identify globally important areas for species conservation. Although a similar methodology has been used successfully to identify Important Bird Areas, we have identified five limitations that may apply when considering other taxa: The KBA approach is overly prescriptive in identifying important conservation features, is inflexible when dealing with landscape connectivity, creates errors by applying global criteria without input from local experts, relies on post hoc consideration of implementation opportunities and constraints, and fails to automatically involve implementation agencies in the assessment process. We suggest three modifications to the present approach: (1) Provide training in regional conservation planning for local stakeholders, (2) expand the Alliance for Zero Extinction program to include a broader range of threatened species, and (3) allow local stakeholders to nominate KBAs on the basis of their own regional conservation assessments. These modifications would build on the expertise of those promoting the KBA approach and help maintain the diversity of methods that are needed to conserve biodiversity effectively.

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