JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2021, Vol. 36 ›› Issue (5): 1102-1115.doi: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20210502

• Special Forum on "Methodology and Practice on Coordinated 'Production-Living-Ecological' Space" • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Identification of protected areas under the "Half Earth" target: Based on main global conservation priorities

WANG Bo-yu1,2(), YAN Hui-min1,2(), HU Yun-feng1,2, FENG Zhi-ming1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2020-04-28 Revised:2020-07-10 Online:2021-05-28 Published:2021-07-28
  • Contact: YAN Hui-min;


Based on the principle of ecosystem integrity, the establishment of protected areas is the most effective measure for biodiversity conservation. The "Half Earth" target addresses that the global protected area should account for 50% of the total surface area, and 85% of the global species should be effectively protected. We consider the target as a proper goal of the international biodiversity conservation, especially the proportion of species protected. Although there exists a worldwide recognized classification of protected areas developed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), such classification cannot exactly tell us the proper locations and distributions of protected areas, and most of the existing protected areas are still the result of subjective judgment and selection. Based on various protection objects and identification criteria, many researchers have defined some conservation priorities around the world in the past few years, all of which could be regarded as valuable examples of scientific identification of protected areas, to provide some efficient references. Through comprehensive comparison and analysis of these conservation priorities, including their protection objects, identification criteria and distributions, this paper draws the following conclusions: (1) Species, habitat integrity and human activities are the main considerations when such conservation priorities were proposed, and the identification criteria include species richness (species abundance), habitat transformation and human activity intensity. Nowadays, with the international focus and research on protected areas going further, the integration of criteria has gradually become a new trend in the identification of protected areas. (2) The consideration of habitat transformation includes two different ideas: "mending for the past", which means that the habitats which have been transformed much should be protected, or "preparing for the future", which means the habitats that still remain original should be protected in case of being transformed, whereas the human activities can be direct or indirect. (3) The distributions of conservation priorities are quite different, with their proportions ranging from 5.77% to 25.32%, and the total distribution area accounts for 55.59% of the global land, exceeding the "Half Earth" target.

Key words: biodiversity, "Half Earth" target, protected areas, conservation priorities, species richness, habitat integrity, human activities