Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA)

Coverage by protected areas of important sites for mountain biodiversity (SDG 15.4.1)

The sustainable development target SDG 15.4 (‘By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development’) and associated indicators 15.4.1 and 15.4.2 are a response to recurrent calls to acknowledge mountains in global conservation and sustainability agendas and to develop reporting metrics on progress towards the conservation of their ecosystems and biodiversity.

Reporting on mountain biodiversity conservation in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is performed only at the scale of entire nations, regions or the world. This is the case despite the existence of mountain delineations that enable reporting on biodiversity protection at the level of mountain ranges and systems. In Ly et al. (2023) we apply the most recent GMBA mountain inventory to generate spatially disaggregated annual maps of SDG indicator 15.4.1. We show that national-level indicators of mountain biodiversity protection provide little information at conservation-relevant scales and that reporting at subnational level is critical for the sustainable management of mountain ecosystems and for a meaningful interpretation of national values. With this work we enable sub-national reporting at the level of individual mountain ranges.
Ly et al. (2023). Subnational biodiversity reporting metrics for mountain ecosystems. Nature Sustainability (DOI:10.1038/s41893-023-01232-3)

The R scripts used to execute and report on the analyses in this paper is available in open access.
Online R scripts

Our web visualization shows the spatial disaggregation of SDG 15.4.1 to individual mountain ranges and systems and offers a nuanced understanding of current progress towards SDG 15.4. This tool enables the visualization of the coverage of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) by Protected Areas (PAs) in mountain areas according to the official indicator calculation and to other approaches proposed by GMBA and that apply a different definition of mountains and different calculation methods. External data sources are: The World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas (BirdLife International, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Amphibian Survival Alliance, Conservation International, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and Globa, 2021) and Protected Planet: The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN, 2020).
Web visualizer

Our one pagers provide detailed information on the coverage of important sites for mountain biodiversity by PAs for each country individually as well as for a set of nearly 300 mountain systems. This information is provided in the form of one-pagers, including comparative analyses of different calculation methods and overall statistics based on the approach proposed by GMBA. Downloading all one-pagers at once is possible via Zenodo.