Improving the key biodiversity areas approach for effective conservation planning

Andrew T. Knight, Robert J. Smith, Richard M. Cowling, Philip G. Desmet, Daniel P. Faith, Simon Ferrier, Caroline M. Gelderblom, Hedley Grantham, Amanda T. Lombard, Kristal Maze, Jeanne L. Nel, Jeffrey D. Parrish, Genevieve Q.K. Pence, Hugh P. Possingham, Belinda Reyers, Mathieu Rouget, Dirk Roux, Kerrie A. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-261
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


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