May 2020
Médias Bulletins
May 02, 2020 post image

Hello all,

Do you still have questions about what a KBA represents? The process of KBA identification provides insight into how you can interpret what a KBA is:

The first thing is to know what elements of biodiversity can qualify a site as a KBA. These include threatened and geographically restricted species and ecosystems, as well as places where species aggregate in large numbers, or that have high ecological integrity (see here for details). The catch is that each of these biodiversity elements has to be present at a site in sufficient quantities to “trigger” the KBA. For example, a site has to hold 10% of the global population of a geographically restricted but non-threatened species to be a KBA. Threatened species will have a lower threshold, depending on the threat level. Sites can be tiny or large, as long as the threshold is met.

The KBA identification process involves a set of steps leading to a calculation to see if the quantitative thresholds are met. For a given species, ecosystem or site, research is undertaken to determine whether there is sufficient data and information to even begin an assessment. Reports, expert knowledge and spatial data (e.g. observations) are then used to determine if any sites exist that might hold the required percentage of a species population or of an ecosystem’s extent. This initial scoping work is then presented to taxonomic and ecosystem experts, who interpret the data and contribute additional knowledge. Experts help to delineate a site around the biodiversity elements, making sure that the delineated site meets the quantitative thresholds. The result is then proposed as a KBA and reviewed by external experts. We also send information on the proposed KBA to governments, rights holders, and stakeholders, who may be able to provide more information about threats to the site, as well as ongoing and needed conservation actions there. Let us know if you have questions about any of this.

Some updates on how KBA work is progressing in Canada:​

  • Within regions, we have mostly been focusing on sites important to species –threatened, geographically restricted species, and species aggregations. This is because the application of KBA ecosystem criteria requires a common vegetation classification and ecosystem threat assessments. NatureServe (US) has recently completed RedList assessments for prairie ecosystems in Canada and will present their results at an upcoming meeting with experts. If you work on prairie conservation and would like to participate in this meeting, please contact us. The ecosystem results will be integrated with information on prairie species, which is currently being compiled by KBA Prairie coordinator Karin Newman.
  • Our partners at NatureServe Canada are continuing to develop Ecosystem-Based Automated Range Maps (EBAR), and have created 173 auto-generated ranges. 133 ranges are out for review, and 31 ranges are completed. They are currently looking for reviewers in Canada with expertise in vascular plants and insects (specifically beetles, moths, spiders, mayflies and bees), as well as reviewers in the US and Mexico for all priority species. If you’re interested in participating please complete this short survey to document your taxonomic expertise, potential data sources, and availability to do reviews. Get in touch with the EBAR team at
  • The EBAR team recently presented their Canadian range mapping work in NatureServe’s Virtual Biodiversity Without Boundaries session “Advances in habitat suitability modeling and range-mapping to support conservation decisions”. To view a recording and to see upcoming sessions click here.

As always, please get in touch if you have questions or if you are interested in identifying Key Biodiversity Areas in your region.

Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne

Canada Key Biodiversity Areas Coordinator / Coordonnatrice Zones Clés pour la Biodiversité

May 02, 2020