With much of Earth's surface already heavily impacted by humans, there is a need to understand where restoration is required to achieve global conservation goals. Here, we show that at least 1.9 million km2 of land, spanning 190 (27%) terrestrial ecoregions and 114 countries, needs restoration to achieve the current 17% global protected area target (Aichi Target 11). Restoration targeted on lightly modified land could recover up to two‐thirds of the shortfall, which would have an opportunity cost impact on agriculture of at least $205 million per annum (average of $159/km2). However, 64 (9%) ecoregions, located predominately in Southeast Asia, will require the challenging task of restoring areas that are already heavily modified. These results highlight the need for global conservation strategies to recognize the current level of anthropogenic degradation across many ecoregions and balance bigger protected area targets with more specific restoration goals.
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