A restoration prioritization approach can deliver an eightfold increase in cost-effectiveness for biodiversity conservation. Photo: webguzs / Getty Images.

Using an actual large-scale restoration target of the Atlantic Forest hotspot, the authors show that the approach can deliver an eightfold increase in cost-effectiveness for biodiversity conservation compared with a baseline of non-systematic restoration. A compromise solution avoids 26% of the biome’s current extinction debt of 2,864 plant and animal species (an increase of 257% compared with the baseline). Moreover, this solution sequesters 1 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent (a 105% increase) while reducing costs by US$28 billion (a 57% decrease).

Seizing similar opportunities elsewhere would offer substantial contributions to some of the greatest challenges for humankind.