||Critical catchments for freshwater biodiversity conservation in Europe: identification, prioritisation and gap analysis
||Carrizo, S.F.; Lengyel, S.; Kapusi, F.; Szabolcs, M.; Kasperidus, H.D.; Scholz, M.
; Markovic, D.; Freyhof, J.; Cid, N.; Cardoso, A.C.; Darwall, W.
||Journal of Applied Ecology
||alliance for zero extinction; dragonfly; fishing and fishery; key biodiversity area; Marxan; reserve design; snail, mussel and clam; systematic conservation planning; threatened species; watershed management and restoration
|UFZ wide themes
conservation of freshwater ecosystems has lagged behind that of marine
and terrestrial ecosystems and often requires the integration of
large-scale approaches and transboundary considerations. This study aims
to set the foundations of a spatial conservation strategy by
identifying the most important catchments for the conservation of
freshwater biodiversity in Europe.
- Using data on 1296
species of fish, mollusc, odonate and aquatic plant, and the key
biodiversity area criteria (species Red List status, range restriction
and uniqueness of species assemblages), we identified a network of
Critical Catchments for the conservation of freshwater biodiversity.
Applying spatial prioritisation, we show how the prioritised network
differs from the ideal case of protecting all Critical Catchments and
how it changes when protected areas are included, and we also identify
gaps between the prioritised network and existing protected areas.
- Critical Catchments (n = 8423)
covered 45% of the area of Europe, with 766 qualifying (‘trigger’)
species located primarily in southern Europe. The prioritised network,
limited to 17% of the area of Europe, comprised 3492 catchments mostly
in southern and eastern Europe and species targets were met for at least
96% of the trigger species.
- We found the majority of
Critical Catchments to be inadequately covered by protected areas.
However, our prioritised network presents a possible solution to augment
protected areas to meet policy targets while also achieving good
- Policy implications. While
Critical Catchments cover almost half of Europe, priority catchments are
mostly in southern and eastern Europe where the current level of
protection is not sufficient. This study presents a foundation for a
Europe-wide systematic conservation plan to ensure the persistence of
freshwater biodiversity. Our study provides a powerful new tool for
optimising investment on the conservation of freshwater biodiversity and
for meeting targets set forth in international biodiversity policies,
conventions and strategies.
|Persistent UFZ Identifier
|Carrizo, S.F., Lengyel, S., Kapusi, F., Szabolcs, M., Kasperidus, H.D., Scholz, M., Markovic, D., Freyhof, J., Cid, N., Cardoso, A.C., Darwall, W. (2017):
Critical catchments for freshwater biodiversity conservation in Europe: identification, prioritisation and gap analysis
J. Appl. Ecol. 54 (4), 1209 - 1218