Conservation Target Areas (CTAs) identify some of the most important areas for wildlife conservation in Oxfordshire, where targeted conservation action will have the greatest benefit. CTAs cover just over 20% of the county by area (526.2 km²) and contain 95% of the SSSI land area in Oxfordshire. Each CTA supports one or more of the 20 priority habitats found in Oxfordshire. They provide a focus for coordinated delivery of biodiversity work, agri-environment schemes and biodiversity enhancements through the planning system. The CTA maps show where the greatest gains can be made from habitat enhancement, restoration and creation, as these areas offer the best opportunities for establishing large habitat areas and/or networks of wildlife habitats. As such, they will be useful to Parish Councils developing Neighbourhood Plans, local planning authorities in the development and delivery of resilient ecological networks and Green Infrastructure.
There are currently 37 CTAs in Oxfordshire, as referenced in the State of Nature in Oxfordshire 2017 report. Wildlife of important habitats such as that found on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) cannot survive indefinitely in isolation, but need to be part of a wider network of habitats connected at a landscape scale. As well as identifying areas with concentrations of Priority Habitats and Priority Species, CTA boundaries include surrounding land which can buffer and link areas thereby creating important larger and better connected landscapes.