The positive impact of conservation action

Governments recently adopted new global targets to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity. It is therefore crucial to understand the outcomes of conservation actions. We conducted a global meta-analysis of 186 studies (including 665 trials) that measured biodiversity over time and compared outcomes under conservation action with a suitable counterfactual of no action. We find that in two-thirds of cases, conservation either improved the state of biodiversity or at least slowed declines. Specifically, we find that interventions targeted at species and ecosystems, such as invasive species control, habitat loss reduction and restoration, protected areas, and sustainable management, are highly effective and have large effect sizes. This provides the strongest evidence to date that conservation actions are successful but require transformational scaling up to meet global targets.