Gaps in Protection of Important Ocean Areas: A Spatial Meta-Analysis of Ten Global Mapping Initiatives
To safeguard biodiversity effectively, marine protected areas (MPAs) should be sited using the best available science. There are numerous ongoing United Nations and nongovernmental initiatives to map globally important marine areas. The criteria used by these initiatives vary, resulting in contradictions in the areas identiﬁed as important. Our analysis is the ﬁrst to overlay these initiatives, quantify consensus, and conduct gap analyses at the global scale. We found that 55% of the ocean has been identiﬁed as important by one or more initiatives, and that individual areas have been identiﬁed by as many as seven overlapping initiatives.