Methods for identifying areas important for biodiversity

Project start date: 01/01/2023
Project end date: 31/03/2024
NESP funding: $130,000 (GST-exclusive)

Australia has committed to protecting 30% of its lands and seas by 2030 – the ‘30-by-30’ target of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework – with an emphasis on protecting areas important for biodiversity. But how do we know which areas are important for biodiversity?

There are several ways of identifying and defining important areas. This project is evaluating these methods to determine which is the most effective and will demonstrate how these methods can identify areas important for biodiversity.
Aerial view of Arthur river at Tarkine forest in Tasmania, Australia
Areas important for biodiversity are a priority for protection. Image: dudlajzov/Adobe Stock.

This project is assessing a range of available methods for identifying and defining areas in Australia that are important for biodiversity and determining how they align with proposed international indicators of the 30-by-30 target. To demonstrate how particular methods and existing data may deliver on policy needs, we will also deliver an example of how areas important for biodiversity can be identified using prioritisation methods with existing biodiversity data. This synthesis will help choose a final national approach and show how these areas important for biodiversity fit with other federal and state policies.

Key research areas

To address these challenges and deliver on these knowledge needs, this project is:

  • conducting a desktop review of the possible mapping methods, including their pros and cons regarding alignment to global requirements and state and territory approaches
  • summarising how these approaches or priority areas can be used to ensure that protected areas in Australia are representative of our diverse landscapes and seascapes.
  • Areas important for biodiversity are a priority for protection. Image: dudlajzov/Adobe Stock.