Washington: Researchers have warned that the world`s protected areas are not safeguarding most of the world`s imperilled biodiversity, and clear changes need to be made on how nations undertake future land protection if wildlife is going to be saved.
The findings by scientists from James Cook University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of Queensland, Stanford University, BirdLife International , the International Union for Nature Conservation, and other organizations come at a time when countries are working toward what could become the biggest expansion of protected areas in history.
The authors of the new study found that 85 percent of world`s 4,118 threatened mammals, birds, and amphibian species are not adequately protected in existing national parks, and are therefore vulnerable to extinction in the near term.
Dr. Oscar Venter, lead author of the study, said their study shows that existing protected areas are performing very poorly in terms of protecting the world`s most threatened species, adding, this is concerning, as protected areas are meant to act as strongholds for vulnerable species, which clearly they are not.
The 193 national signatories of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) made a global commitment in 2010 to increase the world`s terrestrial protected area network from 13 to 17 percent by the year 2020. However, by using computer models to simulate scenarios for future protected expansion, the authors discovered that these new parks could still miss most of the world`s unprotected biodiversity.
The key to safeguarding the world`s most at-risk fauna and flora is to link threatened species coverage to protected area expansion, which would combine two of the commitments made by the parties to the CBD, known collectively as the Aichi Targets.
The new study has been published in the journal PLOS Biology.