Based on the recommendations of scientists, a map was created indicating the preferred areas for the creation of new protected areas.
The earth is facing two interrelated challenges: biodiversity loss and climate change. Both are exacerbated by human development of lands that would otherwise be a place of prosperity for animals and plants that have a beneficial effect on the climate.
A new study argues that countries can help conserve biodiversity and climate by leaving roughly 50% of the land that remains relatively undeveloped today. Scientists have called this protected area “the global safety net”. They marked on the map the regions that most affect the health of the planet.
First, environmental biologist Eric Dinerstein of RESOLVE, a nonprofit organization based in Washington DC, USA, and his colleagues mapped pre-existing protected areas. This is approximately 15% of the Earth’s surface. They then consistently marked new areas whose integrity is necessary to achieve various goals.
To protect critically endangered species, an additional 2.3% of land will need to be reserved. To preserve species that may begin to die out, it is necessary to give the status of reserves to another six percent of the planet’s territories. Rare species today live on 6.3% of the land, which should also be made inviolable. For example, this is the Pantanal region in South America, where jaguars live. Another 16% of the area is needed to maintain species diversity. Scientists have also found that an additional 4.7% of land, including forests in the northeastern United States, will help prevent warming carbon from entering the atmosphere. In total, the area of reserves should increase threefold – 35.3% of the existing 15% of the land should be added, bringing the area of protected areas to 50.3% of the planet’s surface.
The researchers argue that the organization of reserves in the territories they have indicated will provide a certain level of climate protection and species diversity, but action must be taken immediately.
Currently, governments of different countries are developing a plan to transfer 30% of the Earth to the category of reserves by 2030. But in the opinion of Erik Dinerstein, this is not enough: “We must achieve much more in ten years.”