There are many different ideas about what qualifies as an important site for nature. Should we focus on globally threatened species on the IUCN Red List? Should we be concerned about those species with small ranges, which are more susceptible to extinction due to habitat loss? Should we instead focus on untouched wildernesses or threatened ecosystems? What about places where hundreds or even millions of animals come together for breeding or for food, often creating an incredible spectacle? Or the most irreplaceable and unique sites?
These are all important targets for conservation, but until recently were not considered collectively. In 2016, all that changed when the global conservation community came together and agreed on a common approach to identifying important sites for nature – Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), whose criteria capture all of the different ideas mentioned above.
Once this approach had been developed, 13 of the world’s leading conservation institutions, including BirdLife International, came together to form the KBA Partnership. Its aim is simple: to map, monitor and conserve the most important places for life on earth. As part of this, we have launched a brand new website which currently holds data on more than 16,000 KBAs. Every single site has information on their location, boundaries, and the species and biodiversity for which they are important.
The website also explains how people can propose new KBAs and the criteria used to assess them, as well as how they are being used by governments, business, donors and the conservation community. It provides guidelines on how businesses should act when working in or near KBAs, and how KBAs are being recognised as critical habitat by a growing number of safeguarding standards. The website provides free access to the World Database of KBAs and at-a-glance summaries via our interactive dashboard (which can