Targeting global conservation funding to limit immediate biodiversity declines

Anthony Waldron, Arne O. Mooers, Daniel C. Miller, Nate Nibbelink, David Redding, Tyler S. Kuhn, J. Timmons Roberts, John L. Gittleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inadequate funding levels are amajor impediment to effective global biodiversity conservation and are likely associated with recent failures to meet United Nations biodiversity targets. Some countries are more severely underfunded than others and therefore represent urgent financial priorities. However, attempts to identify these highly underfunded countries have been hampered for decades by poor and incomplete data on actual spending, coupled with uncertainty and lack of consensus over the relative size of spending gaps. Here, we assemble a global database of annual conservation spending. We then develop a statistical model that explains 86% of variation in conservation expenditures, and use this to identify countries where funding is robustly below expected levels. The 40 most severely underfunded countries contain 32% of all threatened mammalian diversity and include neighbors in some of the world'smost biodiversity- rich areas (Sundaland, Wallacea, and Near Oceania). However, very modest increases in international assistance would achieve a large improvement in the relative adequacy of global conservation finance. Our results could therefore be quickly applied to limit immediate biodiversity losses at relatively little cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12144-12148
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 16 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • CBD
  • Ecological/environmental policy
  • Foreign aid
  • Governance
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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