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Edited by Jon C. Lovett and David G. Ockwell
Chapter 2: Global Biodiversity Conservation Priorities: An Expanded Review
1 Thomas M. Brooks, Russell A. Mittermeier, Gustavo A.B. da Fonseca, Justin Gerlach, Mike Hoffmann, John F. Lamoreux, Cristina G. Mittermeier, John D. Pilgrim and Ana S.L. Rodrigues2 Human actions are causing a biodiversity crisis, with species extinction rates now up to 1000 times higher than the background rate (Pimm et al., 1995). Moreover, the processes driving extinction are eroding the environmental services on which humanity depends (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005). People care most about what is close to them, so most responses to this crisis will be local or national (Hunter and Hutchinson, 1994). Thus, approximately 90 per cent of $6bn annual conservation funding originates in, and is spent within, economically rich countries (James et al., 1999). However, this still leaves globally flexible funding of hundreds of millions of dollars annually from multilateral agencies (for example, Global Environment Facility), bilateral aid and private sources including environmentally focused corporations, foundations and individuals (Balmford and Whitten, 2003). These resources are frequently the only ones available where conservation is most needed, because biodiversity is unevenly distributed and the most biodiverse places are often the most threatened and poorest economically (Balmford and Long, 1994; Balmford et al., 2003; Baillie et al., 2004). Accordingly, geographically flexible resources exert disproportionate influence on conservation worldwide, and have a key role in the recently agreed intergovernmental 2010 target to reduce significantly the rate of biodiversity loss (Balmford et al., 2005). Since the pioneering work of Myers (1988) on how to best allocate flexible conservation resources, no less...
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