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Proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas, by ecosystem type

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2018

Coverage

Global

Availability

Not freely available

Partners

Iucn logo en

IUCN

Birdlife aug2013

BirdLife International

Un environment wcmc

UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Contact point

Indicator description

This indicator shows temporal trends in the mean percentage of each important site for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity (i.e., those that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity) that is covered by designated protected areas.

Related Aichi Targets

Primary target

11

Target 11:

By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

Secondary targets

Target 5:

By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.

Primary target

11

Target 11:

By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

5
11

Related SDGs

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 15

GOAL 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Target 15.1| Official indicator

By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 15

GOAL 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 15

Themes

Marine

Marine & freshwater habitats

View related indicators >
Bip policy

Policy & conservation actions

View related indicators >
Bip terrestrial

Terrestrial habitats

View related indicators >
Marine
Bip policy
Bip terrestrial

Partners

Iucn logo en
Birdlife aug2013
Un environment wcmc

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2018

Coverage

Global

Availability

Not freely available

Indicator description

This indicator shows temporal trends in the mean percentage of each important site for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity (i.e., those that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity) that is covered by designated protected areas.

Contact point

Graphs / Diagrams

Figure. Protected area coverage of terrestrial Key Biodiversity Area's from 2000 to 2018 (by region).

Figure. Protected area coverage of freshwater from 2000 to 2018 (by region).

Current storyline

On average, protected area coverage of areas of particular importance for biodiversity, in both terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems globally, continue to grow at approximately the same rate (0.7% per annum). The extent of protected area coverage varies between regions, with Northern America and Europe providing the highest on average in both terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems as well as the highest average rate of growth (0.9% and 1% per annum in freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems respectively). Additionally, mean protected area coverage of both freshwater and terrestrial Key Biodiversity Areas in Western Asia and Northern Africa has more than doubled since 2000. All regions continue to increase the extent to which they officially protect areas of importance for biodiversity, and hence the critical natural capital that supports human well-being and increases the resilience of communities.

Indicator relationship to Aichi Targets 5 and 11

Target 5: By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced.

Target 11: By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

The safeguard of important sites is vital for stemming the decline in biodiversity and ensuring long term and sustainable use of terrestrial and freshwater natural resources. The establishment of protected areas is an important mechanism for achieving this aim, and this indicator serves as a means of measuring progress toward the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements. Importantly, while it can be disaggregated to report on any given single ecosystem of interest (e.g., forests), it is not restricted to any single ecosystem type, and so faithfully reflects the intent of SDG target 15.1.

Levels of access to protected areas vary among the protected area management categories. Some areas, such as scientific reserves, are maintained in their natural state and closed to any other use. Others are used for recreation or tourism, or even open for the sustainable extraction of natural resources. In addition to protecting biodiversity, protected areas have high social and economic value: supporting local livelihoods; protecting watersheds from erosion; harbouring an untold wealth of genetic resources; supporting thriving recreation and tourism industries; providing for science, research and education; and forming a basis for cultural and other non-material values.

This indicator adds meaningful information to, complements and builds from traditionally reported simple statistics of terrestrial and freshwater area covered by protected areas, computed by dividing the total protected area within a country by the total territorial area of the country and multiplying by 100 (Chape et al. 2005). Such percentage area coverage statistics do not recognise the extreme variation of biodiversity importance over space (Rodrigues et al. 2004), and so risk generating perverse outcomes through the protection of areas which are large at the expense of those which require protection.

Data and methodology

Coverage: Global/Sub-global/Regional/National

Scale: Aggregated from national data

Time series available: 1819-2018

Next planned update: The World Database on Protected Areas is updated monthly and the World Database on Key Biodiversity Areas is updated on an ongoing basis. The indicator is updated annually and will next be updated in January 2019.

Possible disaggregations: Sub-global/Regional/National

Metadata used: For a description of metadata please see the SDG Indicator 15.1.2 factsheet, available here.

Methodology: This indicator is calculated from data derived from a spatial overlap between digital polygons for protected areas from the World Database on Protected Areas (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN 2018) and digital polygons for terrestrial and freshwater Key Biodiversity Areas (from the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas, including Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas, Alliance for Zero Extinction sites, and other Key Biodiversity Areas; available through the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool). The value of the indicator at a given point in time, based on data on the year of protected area establishment recorded in the World Database on Protected Areas, is computed as the mean percentage of each Key Biodiversity Area currently recognised that is covered by protected areas.

Year of protected area establishment is unknown for 12% of protected areas in the World Database on Protected Areas, generating uncertainty around changing protected area coverage over time. To reflect this uncertainty, a year was randomly assigned from another protected area within the same country, and repeated this procedure 1,000 times, with the median plotted.

National use of indicator

Producing this indicator nationally: Given that data for the global indicator are compiled at national levels, it is straightforward to disaggregate to national and regional levels (Han et al. 2014), or conversely to aggregate to the global level. Key Biodiversity Areas span all ecosystem types, including marine (Edgar et al. 2008), freshwater (Holland et al. 2012), and mountains (UNEP-WCMC et al. 2002; Rodríguez-Rodríguez et al. 2011).

Use of the global method and data at the national level:

National versions of this indicator are available on the country profiles in IBAT (https://www.ibat-alliance.org/ibat-conservation). All data are derived from the two key datasets, which are available for use pursuant to their respective terms and conditions.

The indicator methodology can be applied with in-country data to develop a national indicator.

Guidance on how to produce the indicator at the national level can be found in the SDG Indicator 15.1.2 factsheet, available here.

Availability of global data for national use:

Freely available for non commercial use: www.protectedplanet.net and http://www.keybiodiversityareas.org.

Available with agreements in place with providers: https://www.ibat-alliance.org/ibat-conservation.

Further resources

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

State

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2018

Coverage

Global

Availability

Not freely available

Partners

Iucn logo en

IUCN

Birdlife aug2013

BirdLife International

Un environment wcmc

UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Contact point