Global Hotspots of Conflict Risk between Food Security and Biodiversity Conservation

Amy Molotoks* (Corresponding Author), Matthias Kuhnert, Terence P Dawson, Pete Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


The global challenges of food security and biodiversity are rarely addressed together,
though recently there has been an increasing awareness that the two issues are closely related. The
majority of land available for agriculture is already used for food production, but despite the
productivity gains, one in nine people worldwide are classified as food insecure. There is an
increasing risk that addressing food insecurity through methods such as agricultural expansion or
intensification could lead to biodiversity loss through destruction of habitats important for
conservation. This analysis uses various indicators of biodiversity at a global scale, including
biodiversity hotspots, total species richness, and threatened and endemic species richness. Areas
where high biodiversity coexists with high food insecurity or a high risk of agricultural expansion,
were examined and found to mainly occur in the tropics, with Madagascar standing out in
particular. The areas identified are especially at risk of biodiversity loss, and so are global priorities
for further research and for policy development to address food insecurity and biodiversity loss
Original languageEnglish
Article number67
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

This work contributes to the Belmont Forum/FACCE-JPI DEVIL project (grant number NE/M021327/1), and AM is supported by a BBSRC EastBio Studentship ( The Conservation Biology Institute are acknowledged for provision of data as well as BirdLife International, IUCN, NatureServe, and USGS for their contribution of the species range map data used in producing data available from the Biodiversity Mapping website (


  • biodiversity conservation
  • food security
  • land use


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