Image used in hero section:Mammillaria schwarzii. Photo credit: Norman Dennis.

All confirmed AZE sites are Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), ‘sites contributing significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity.’ Sites qualify as global KBAs if they meet one or more of 11 criteria, grouped into five categories: threatened biodiversity; geographically restricted biodiversity; ecological integrity; biological processes; and irreplaceability. Currently, there are over 15,000 KBAs globally documented in the World Database on Key Biodiversity Areas.

All confirmed AZE sites qualify as KBAs under KBA criterion A1 because they “hold a significant proportion of the global population size of a species facing a high risk of extinction, and so contribute to the global persistence of biodiversity at genetic and species levels” – specifically criterion A1e, because they “regularly hold effectively the entire global population size of a CR or EN species.”

The 2018 AZE update identified 942 AZE sites worldwide. Of these, 474 (50%) already qualify as KBAs because they were confirmed as AZE sites in the 2010 AZE update, and another 140 (15%) because they already qualify under other KBA criteria. A further 297 (32%) have been newly nominated as KBAs under criterion A1, and are currently being assessed by the KBA Secretariat for confirmation as KBAs and inclusion in the next update of the KBA website and the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool. The remaining 31 (3%) require further documentation, delineation or consultation before they can be considered by the KBA Secretariat.

AZE sites are those KBAs in most urgent need of conservation in order to prevent imminent global extinction. In terms of irreplaceability of sites for species, AZE sites are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of KBAs requiring safeguarding.

The Key Biodiversity Areas Partnership brings together 12 of the world’s leading global conservation organisations who have committed to mobilise the expertise, experience and resources of the partner organisations to: identify, map and document Key Biodiversity Areas worldwide; promote targeted conservation action in Key Biodiversity Areas; and inform and influence public policy and private sector decision-making. The work of the KBA Partnership encompasses efforts to conserve and safeguard AZE sites.

Further information on the value of KBAs (including AZEs) to end-users, such as Guidelines on business and KBAs: Managing risk to biodiversity, and Guidance on the relationship between KBAs and Protected Areas, can be consulted for additional information on safeguarding AZE sites.

More information on Key Biodiversity Areas can be found here.

Be a force for zero extinction

Policy Makers

Include AZE sites within your national government conservation strategies

Government resources

Research Scientists

Help conservation efforts through submitting site updates and nomination

Science resources

Conservation organizations

Protect sites independently or in collaboration with other organizations

Conservation resources

Individual contributors

Give your support to individual AZE partner organizations around the world

Contribution options

Bale Mountains. Photo: stefancek