The recent adoption of the Key Biodiversity Areas Standard is a major breakthrough for global conservation. It has brought together 12 of the largest conservation nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) worldwide to promote the identification of the most important sites for conserving biodiversity, which is rapidly declining. The standard sets out global criteria for the identification of key biodiversity areas (KBAs) — natural places all around the world that are home to the most important populations of wild animal and plants — that require urgent conservation. "This is the first time the conservation community has come together to develop a set of agreed-upon, standardised criteria to identify sites of global importance for biodiversity," says Daniel Marnewick, manager of the important bird biodiversity areas programme at BirdLife South Africa.

"Establishing a single measurable for all taxa [taxonomic groups] and ecosystems to identify the most important sites naturally requir...

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