Important Plant Areas: revised

TitleImportant Plant Areas: revised
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDarbyshire, I, Anderson, S, Asatryan, A, Byfield, A, Cheek, M, Clubbe, C, Ghrabi, Z, Harris, T, Heatubun, CD, Kalema, J, Magassouba, S, McCarthy, B, Milliken, W, de Montmollin, B, Lughadha, ENic, Onana, J-M, Saïdou, D, Sârbu, A, Shrestha, K, Radford, EA
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation

Despite the severe threats to plant habitats and high levels of extinction risk for plant species in many parts of the world, plant conservation priorities are often poorly represented in national and global frameworks because of a lack of data in an accessible and consistent format to inform conservation decision making. The Important Plant Areas (IPAs) criteria system offers a pragmatic yet scientifically rigorous means of delivering these datasets, enabling informed national- or regional-scale conservation prioritisation, and contributing significantly towards global prioritisation systems including the International Union for Conservation of Nature Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) Standard. In this paper, we review the IPA rationale and progress on IPA identification to date, including the perceived limitations of the process and how these may be overcome. We then present a revised set of criteria for use globally, developed through the combined experiences of IPA identification over the past decade and a half and through a recent global consultation process. An overview of how the revised IPA criteria can work alongside the newly published KBA Standard is also provided. IPA criteria are based around a sound, scientific, global framework which acknowledges the practical problems of gathering plant and habitat data in many regions of the world, and recognises the role of peer reviewed expert opinion in the selection process. National and sub-national engagement in IPA identification is essential, providing a primary route towards long term conservation of key sites for plant diversity. The IPA criteria can be applied to the conservation of all organism groups within the plant and fungal kingdoms.