Preserving 40% forest cover is a valuable and well-supported conservation guideline: reply to Banks-Leite et al.


Arroyo-Rodríguez V(1)(2), Fahrig L(3), Watling JI(4), Nowakowski J(5), Tabarelli M(6), Tischendorf L(7), Melo FPL(6), Santos BA(8), Benchimol M(9), Morante-Filho JC(9), Slik JWF(10), Vieira ICG(11), Tscharntke T(12).
Author information:
(1)Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Morelia, Michoacán, 58190, Mexico.
(2)Escuela Nacional de Estudios Superiores, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mérida, Yucatán, 97357, Mexico.
(3)Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, K1S 4B6, Canada.
(4)John Carroll University, University Heights, OH, 44118, USA.
(5)Working Land and Seascapes, Conservation Commons, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 20013, USA.
(6)Departamento de Botânica, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Pernambuco, 50670-901, Brazil.
(7)ELUTIS Modelling and Consulting Inc, Ottawa, ON, K2A 1X4, Canada.
(8)Departamento de Sistemática e Ecologia, Universidade Federal da Paraiba, Campus I, João Pessoa, Paraiba, 58051-900, Brazil.
(9)Laboratório de Ecologia Aplicada à Conservação, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz, Ilhéus, Bahia, 45662-900, Brazil.
(10)Environmental and Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Gadong, BE1410, Brunei Darussalam.
(11)Coordenação de Botânica, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, CP 399, Belém, Pará, 66040-170, Brazil.
(12)Centre of Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use
(CBL), University of Goettingen, Göttingen, Germany.


Banks-Leite et al. (2021) claim that our suggestion of preserving ≥ 40% forest cover lacks evidence and can be problematic. We find these claims unfounded, and discuss why conservation planning urgently requires valuable, well-supported and feasible general guidelines like the 40% criterion. Using region-specific thresholds worldwide is unfeasible and potentially harmful.