Translating international conservation commitments into national planning action

Study demonstrates approach to prioritizing protection of terrestrial areas in Guyana to meet Aichi targets

GBIF-mediated data resources used : 6,402 species occurrences
Picumnus spilogaster
White-bellied piculet (Picumnus spilogaster) by josh_vandermeulen via iNaturalist. Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Through Aichi Target 11, signatories to the Convention on Biological Convention (CBD) have committed to protection of 17 per cent of terrestial areas by 2020, but in 2017 less than 15 per cent were protected–a shortfall of more than 3 million square km. For countries falling behind targets, plans for expansions based on biodiversity and conservation science are needed.

This study present an example of a systematic national-scale conservation planning process in Guyana, in which only 8.5 per cent of the land area is currently protected. Using published range maps and GBIF-mediated occurrences for species distributions models, the study focuses on 329 vertebrate species as well as 17 vegetation types.

In the current Guyanan network of protected areas, their results showed that only 48 per cent of vertebrates and 29 per cent of vegetation types are represented, and among threatened species eight are completely absent. To meet all targets, the authors identify new priority areas for conservation, bringing the combined protected area up to 22.5 per cent, however, 17 per cent coverage could be reached by focusing effort on just two areas–the protection of which would mean complete representation.

Link to original article

Bicknell JE, Collins MB, Pickles RSA, McCann NP, Bernard CR, Fernandes DJ, Miller MGR, James SM, Williams AU, Struebig MJ, Davies ZG and Smith RJ (2017) Designing protected area networks that translate international conservation commitments into national action. Biological Conservation. Elsevier BV 214: 168–175. Available at: