Nav: Home

Three urgent steps for better protected areas

November 05, 2015

  • New paper says failure of protected areas to guard biodiversity is partly the fault of scientists

  • Science community needs to identify science-based targets, metrics of ecological effectiveness, and better measuring outside of protected areas

  • Results offer strategic guidance on where protected areas should be cited to avert biodiversity loss

  • "Bold science needed now for protected areas," say authors

NEW YORK (November 5, 2015) - A group of scientists have developed a three-point plan to ensure the world's protected areas meet new biodiversity targets set by the 193 signatory nations of the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD). They recognize that part of the current failure of the protected areas to stop the decline of biodiversity is partly to do with the lack of science available.

The scientists offer strategic guidance on the types of science needed to be conducted so protected areas can be placed and managed in ways that support the overall goal to avert biodiversity loss.

The plan appears in the early online issue of the journal Conservation Biology.

The CBD established 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets organized under five strategic goals. Aichi Target 11 calls for increasing by 2020 terrestrial protected areas to 17 percent on land and 10 percent in marine environments.

However, the authors warn that the target may be technically met in terms of size, while failing the overall strategic goal of why it was established. This could occur if the areas are poorly located, inadequately managed, or unjustifiably include areas outside of official protected areas.

The three points of their solution are:

  1. Establish ecologically sensible protected area targets to help prioritize important biodiversity areas and achieve ecological representation.

  2. Identify clear, comparable performance metrics of ecological effectiveness so conservationists can assess progress toward the targets.

  3. Identify metrics and report on the contribution of "other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) make toward the target.

The authors challenge the scientific community to actively ensure that the achievement of the required area in Aichi Target 11 is not simply and end in itself, but generates genuine benefits for biodiversity.

Said lead author Dr. James Watson of WCS and University of Queensland, and current President of the Society for Conservation Biology: "Achieving CBD's goals are imperative for nature and humanity, as people depend on biodiversity for important and valuable services. The scientific community now must step up and actively help governments identify what is need for their future protected area estates so they can achieve great conservation outcomes."
-end-
Other authors of the study include: Emily Darling and Joe Walston of WCS; Oscar Venter, Martine Maron, Hugh Possingham, Nigel Dudley, Marc Hockings and Megan Barnes of University of Queensland; and Thomas Brooks of IUCN.

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world's oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

CONTACT: JAMES WATSON (+61409185592; jwatson@wcs.org)
STEPHEN SAUTNER: (1-718-220-3682; ssautner@wcs.org
JOHN DELANEY: (1-718-220-3275; jdelaney@wcs.org)

Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12645/abstract
Photo: Tiger in Southeast Asia CREDIT: WCS
WCS Newsroom Twitter: https://twitter.com/WCSNewsroom/status/662279971046612992

Wildlife Conservation Society

Related Biodiversity Articles:

Mapping global biodiversity change
A new study, published in Science, which focuses on mapping biodiversity change in marine and land ecosystems shows that loss of biodiversity is most prevalent in the tropic, with changes in marine ecosystems outpacing those on land.
Bee biodiversity barometer on Fiji
The biodiversity buzz is alive and well in Fiji, but climate change, noxious weeds and multiple human activities are making possible extinction a counter buzzword.
What if we paid countries to protect biodiversity?
Researchers from Sweden, Germany, Brazil and the USA have developed a financial mechanism to support the protection of the world's natural heritage.
Grassland biodiversity is blowing in the wind
Temperate grasslands are the most endangered but least protected ecosystems on Earth.
The loss of biodiversity comes at a price
A University of Cordoba research team ran the numbers on the impact of forest fires on emblematic species using the fires in Spain's DoƱana National Park and Segura mountains in 2017 as examples
Biodiversity and carbon: perfect together
Biodiversity conservation is often considered to be a co-benefit of protecting carbon sinks such as intact forests to help mitigate climate change.
The last chance for Madagascar's biodiversity
A group of scientists from Madagascar, UK, Australia, USA and Finland have recommended actions the government of Madagascar's recently elected president, Andry Rajoelina should take to turn around the precipitous decline of biodiversity and help put Madagascar on a trajectory towards sustainable growth.
Biodiversity draws the ecotourism crowd
Nature -- if you support it, ecotourists will come. Managed wisely, both can win.
Biodiversity for the birds
Can't a bird get some biodiversity around here? The landscaping choices homeowners make can lead to reduced bird populations, thanks to the elimination of native plants and the accidental creation of food deserts.
Biodiversity can also destabilize ecosystems
According to the prevailing opinion, species-rich ecosystems are more stable against environmental disruptions such as drought, hot spells or pesticides.
More Biodiversity News and Biodiversity Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.