Key Biodiversity Area Initiatives

What are Key Biodiversity Areas?

Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) are sites contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity, in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. Sites qualify as global KBAs if they meet one or more of 11 criteria, clustered into five categories: threatened biodiversity; geographically restricted biodiversity; ecological integrity; biological processes; and, irreplaceability. The Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas (IUCN 2016) sets out globally agreed criteria for the identification of KBAs worldwide.

Identifying marine KBAs in the Greater Caribbean

MBA analysis lays the foundation for stakeholder-driven marine conservation

We used available occurrence and population data and species’ threat statuses for 1,669 marine vertebrates to locate areas where site-specific conservation measures could effectively protect biodiversity.

This foundational KBA analysis suggests 90 geographically unique KBA sites. While 54 were located within existing protected areas (PAs), 34 were found outside of existing PAs. Sites with large numbers and/or high diversity of threatened species absent PA coverage are indicated as conservation priority areas.

Analyses such as these provide logical starting points for protected area planning and decision making through the establishment of an inclusive and transparent stakeholder and right-holder engagement process.

Refining global criteria for place-based marine conservation

MBU representatives participated in a global initiative, led by the IUCN WCPA/SSC Joint Task Force, to develop and refine technical criteria and consolidated standards for marine Key Biodiversity Areas. The resulting methodology was published as a marine-mammal case study, highlighting how criteria to identify areas important for marine taxa can be developed, and how these criteria may nest within existing and emerging global classification systems. To learn more, visit the Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force (MMPATF).

KBA Resources

The World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas is managed by BirdLife International on behalf of the KBA Partnership. It hosts data on global and regional Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs).

A global standard for the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas (v. 1.0)
Guidelines for using A global standard for the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas (v.1.0)