Important wildlife sites still unprotected


This is a video from Ethiopia on the endangered Liben (or Sidamo) lark.

From BirdLife:

Half of the world’s most important sites for nature are currently unprotected

The world’s governments have committed to increasing the coverage of protected areas by 2020 in order to address rapid rates of environmental destruction. However, a new study shows that only half of the most important sites for wildlife have been fully protected. These findings highlight the urgent need for improved targeting of new and expanded protected areas in order to best protect the planet’s wildlife.

Protected areas like national parks and community-managed nature reserves are a cornerstone of conservation efforts and now cover nearly 13% of the world’s land surface. In 2010, the world’s governments meeting in Nagoya, Japan committed to expanding this to 17% by 2020, with an emphasis on areas of particular importance for nature.

New research by over 40 scientists from almost 30 institutions, led by BirdLife International, has found that only half of these important areas are currently protected. The researchers discovered this trend by analysing the overlap between protected areas and two worldwide networks of important sites for wildlife: Important Bird Areas, which comprise more than 10,000 globally significant sites for conserving birds, and Alliance for Zero Extinction sites, which include 600 sites holding the last remaining population of highly threatened vertebrates and plants. …

“This is despite the fact that we found evidence that protection of important sites may slow the rate at which species are driven towards extinction: by 50% for birds with protection of at least half of the Important Bird Areas at which they occur, and by 30% for birds, mammals and amphibians restricted to protected areas compared with those restricted to unprotected or partially protected sites. By using the IUCN Red List Index to measure changes in the status of species, and linking this to the degree of protection for important conservation sites, we found good evidence that protected areas may play an important role in slowing the loss of biodiversity.” …

With governments having committed to halt the extinction of threatened species and to expand protected areas in both number and extent, they could achieve both of these aims and benefit local communities by focusing new protected areas on the networks of sites considered to be the most important places for wildlife. For example, establishment of a protected area on the Liben Plain in Ethiopia would help to safeguard the future of the Critically Endangered Liben Lark, which is found nowhere else. Similarly, the designation of a proposed biosphere reserve in the Massif de la Hotte in Haiti would protect 15 highly threatened frog species that are restricted to just this single site. In both cases, appropriate management would ensure that local communities also benefit from enhanced protection of these sites.

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