Protected areas are very effective for wildlife conservation •

By analyzing data from 8,671 camera trap stations spanning four continents and 23 countries, a new study led by the University of British Columbia (UBC) has found that protected areas are highly effective at conserving wildlife.

According to the images reviewed, habitats with a protected designation had significantly higher mammal diversity than forests or wilderness areas without such a designation. Positive effects on wildlife have even been seen in protected areas exposed to human disturbance, such as logging or recreational use.

“This is not shocking news in itself, but it is exciting evidence of the critical role that parks and nature reserves play in wildlife conservation,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Dr. Cole Burton, UBC conservation biologist specializing in mammalian populations and humans. interactions with wildlife.

“As international discussions continue on new global targets for the expansion of protected areas, it is important to be able to measure the benefits of the protections that currently exist.”

According to Dr Burton and his colleagues, protected areas are the last stronghold of large numbers of endangered mammals, which are difficult to protect because they require large areas of habitat and tend to come into frequent conflict with intruders. humans.

“If we want to keep large mammals around, and the critical roles they play in ecosystems, we need to continue to focus on growing the network of protected areas. In fact, under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the world is currently discussing new targets for how much of the earth’s surface should be covered by parks. We need better information to inform these policy discussions. Hopefully this study helps fill the gaps in our knowledge,” he concluded.

According to the researchers, their study provides important evidence for the overall effectiveness of protected areas in conserving terrestrial mammals and highlights the essential role of area-based conservation in a post-2020 biodiversity framework. The research is published in Conservation Letters: A journal of the Society for Conservation Biology.

Through Andrei Ionescu, Personal editor

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