Only huge nature reserves can save species
September 13th 2012
The world must look to designate an area twice the size of Argentina as nature reserves, or we will have little chance of establishing enough protected areas for wildlife and fish to stave off a disastrous loss of species, according to an analysis of natural and marine reserves. In the 20 years from 1990 to 2010, the amount of land with protected status rose from 8.8% to 12.7%, while the amount of sea protected was increased from 0.9% to 4%, according to a report by the United Nations environment programme (Unep) and others, published at the World Conservation Congress on Friday [7 September]. Yet according to international targets adopted in 2010, that proportion must increase to 17% and 10% respectively by the end of this decade. On current rates of progress, this target looks very unlikely to be met. In order to meet the goals - which some analysts say will not even be enough to prevent rampant species loss - an area more than twice the size of Argentina would have to be designated on land as reserves, and at sea an area greater than Australia would need to be put under marine protection in order to meet the internationally set targets. The report also concluded that about half of the world’s important sites for biodiversity are still unprotected.
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, director-general of the IUCN [International Union for Conservation of Nature], which is hosting the conference and co-authored the report, said establishing reserves and other forms of protection was an effective way of conserving species that are under threat. ‘Protected areas have contributed significantly to conservation of the world’s biodiversity and an increase in their coverage and effectiveness is vital to a thriving planet and communities for the future. These rich natural areas are very important for people, who rely on them for food and clean water, climate regulation and reducing the impacts of natural disasters.’
Read the full article: The Guardian
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