Declines in global biodiversity due to land conversion and habitat loss are driving a ‘Sixth Mass Extinction’ and many countries fall short of meeting even nominal targets for land protection. We explored how such shortfalls in Australia, Brazil and Canada might be addressed by enhancing partnerships between Indigenous communities and other government agencies that recognize and reward the existing contributions of Indigenous-managed lands to global biodiversity conservation, and their potential contribution to meeting international treaty targets. We found that Indigenous-managed lands were slightly more vertebrate species rich than existing protected areas in all three countries, and in Brazil and Canada, that they supported more threatened vertebrate species than existing protected areas or randomly selected non-protected areas. Our results suggest that overall, Indigenous-managed lands and existing protected areas host similar levels of vertebrate biodiversity in Brazil, Canada, and Australia. Partnerships with Indigenous communities that seek to maintain or enhance Indigenous land tenure practices on Indigenous-managed lands may therefore have some potential to ameliorate national and global shortfalls in land protection for biodiversity conservation using a mix of conventional protected areas and Indigenous-managed lands.

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Environmental Science and Policy
Department of Biology

Schuster, R. (Richard), Germain, R.R. (Ryan R.), Bennett, J.R, Reo, N.J. (Nicholas J.), & Arcese, P. (Peter). (2019). Vertebrate biodiversity on indigenous-managed lands in Australia, Brazil, and Canada equals that in protected areas. Environmental Science and Policy, 101, 1–6. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2019.07.002