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Making global targets local for freshwater protection

Freshwaters require targeted policy considerations to achieve biodiversity conservation goals and to support ecosystem services that communities around the globe depend upon. Effective conservation requires creative solutions that build and expand upon conventional protected areas, contextualized for these diverse ecosystems.

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Fig. 1: Freshwater protections fall along a spectrum of management intensity and restriction.
Fig. 2: Global patterns of fish species richness are mapped with key biodiversity areas (that include freshwater).


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We thank K. Ronnenberg for her assistance with graphics development and K. Christiansen for mapping key biodiversity area data. We also thank BirdLife International for sharing the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas, and T. Starnes of the IUCN Science and Data Center for assisting with data interpretation. R.L.F., R.A. and I.H. were supported by their respective organizations to craft this manuscript. I.A. and B.E.P. were supported by H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest and Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) programme under the NSF grant LTER8 DEB-2025755.

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Conceptualization: R.L.F., R.A., I.H., I.A. and B.E.P.; visualization: R.L.F., R.A. and I.A.; writing — original draft: R.L.F., R.A. and I.H.; writing — reviewing and editing: R.L.F., R.A., I.H., I.A. and B.E.P.

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Correspondence to Rebecca L. Flitcroft.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Nature Sustainability thanks Cecilia Gontijo Leal and Heidi Van Deventer for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Flitcroft, R.L., Abell, R., Harrison, I. et al. Making global targets local for freshwater protection. Nat Sustain (2023).

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