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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

World Now Protects 15% Land, 12% Waters, but Crucial Biodiversity Zones Left Out

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Close to 15% of the Earth’s land and 12% of its territorial waters are covered by national parks and other protected areas.
Coverage of marine protected areas more than quadrupled in the last decade.
Eight in 10 key biodiversity areas worldwide lack complete protection.

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2 September 2016With 14.7 per cent of the Earth’s land and 12 per cent of its territorial waters under protection, the world is on track to meet a major global conservation target according to UN Environment and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). But in their 2016 Protected Planet report, launched today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaiʻi, UN Environment and IUCN also show that crucial biodiversity areas are being left out, key species and habitats are underrepresented and inadequate management is limiting the effectiveness of protected areas.

The huge gains in the number and size of protected areas made in the last decade have to be matched by improvements in their quality,” said UN Environment Head Erik Solheim. “The world needs to do more to effectively protect our most biologically diverse spaces. Protected areas need to be better connected, to allow populations of animals and plants to mix and spread. Also important is ensuring local communities are involved in protection efforts. Their support is fundamental to long-term conservation.” … According to scientists at IUCN and UN Environment’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, there are 202,467 protected areas today, covering almost 20 million square kilometres or 14.7 per cent of the world’s land, excluding Antarctica. That falls just short of the 17 per cent target set for 2020 by the Convention on Biological Diversity under the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

Areas of importance for biodiversity–Currently less than 20 per cent of the world’s key biodiversity areas are completely covered by protected areas.

Lack of effective management –Less than 20 per cent of countries have met their commitments to assess the management of their protected areas, raising questions about the quality and effectiveness of existing conservation measures.

Protected areas are fundamental for sustainable development –The report recommends investing in protected areas to strengthen sustainable management of fisheries, control invasive species, cope with climate change and reduce harmful incentives, such as subsidies, which threaten biodiversity….

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