Key Biodiversity Areas

Photo © Luis Fernando Marin da Fonte

Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are sites that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity. The KBA Programme is supporting the identification, mapping, monitoring and conservation of KBAs, to help safeguard the most critical sites for nature on our planet.

Knowing, with precision, the location of places that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity (KBAs) is critical information for a wide range of end users across society, from national decision makers to private companies, as well as for use by international conventions and, ultimately, to direct conservation actions to halt further losses and address existing and emerging threats.

KBAs serve many functions of interest to a variety of end users. They may: inform private sector safeguard policies, environmental standards, and certification schemes; support conservation planning and priority-setting at national and regional levels; and provide local and indigenous communities with opportunities for employment, recognition, economic investment, societal mobilisation and civic pride.

Togo Slippery Frog (Conraua derooi) © Caleb Ofori-Boateng

Thirteen of the world’s leading nature conservation organisations, including the Amphibian Survival Alliance, launched an ambitious new Key Biodiversity Areas partnership in 2016. The KBA Partnership will enhance global conservation efforts by systematically mapping internationally important sites and ensuring that scarce resources are directed to safeguarding the most important places for nature. The impact of this vital conservation work will be enhanced by promoting targeted investment in conservation action at priority sites.

KBAs are identified according to a rigorous global standard endorsed by IUCN, which is applicable across taxonomic groups and in freshwater, terrestrial and marine biomes. More than 16,000 KBAs have been identified to date, but amphibians are poorly represented in this global network. The ASA Secretariat is working to change this by providing fundraising and technical support to ASA partners and other experts interested in identifying KBAs for amphibians and promoting their conservation.

ASA is working to advance to several other priorities of the KBA Partnership. We contributed substantially to the development of the “Guidelines for Using a Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas”, published by IUCN in January 2019, through our role in co-chairing the KBA Technical Working Group. ASA is also helping to implement the Partnership’s communications strategy, to further raise the profile of the importance of identifying, monitoring and conserving KBAs to governments, the private sector, local communities, and conservation organizations.

In the last year, ASA supported the campaign to save Ghana’s Atewa Forest from bauxite mining through the creation of a national park. Atewa Forest is a critically important KBA for amphibians and other threatened species, including the Critically Endangered and endemic Togo Slippery Frog (Conraua derooi), and is a critical water resource for local communities and millions of people downstream. We continue to support our local partners in this effort.