30% of land and oceans must be conserved to prevent mass extinction

Extinction risk could be cut by more than 50% if 30% of land and oceans are conserved, according to a report published in the journal Ecology. 

Between 1990 and 2016, the world has lost over 500,000 square miles of forest, an area larger than South Africa, and according to the U.N, over one million species are at risk of extinction.

21 global biodiversity and climate change scientists have published a report yesterday (February 26), outlining conservation methods that must be taken to prevent mass extinction.

The paper has been published at an important time as the global conservation community will meet in Rome next week to continue negotiations on a Global Biodiversity Framework.

During this meeting, the authors of the report will call for the protection of 30% of the world’s land and oceans.

In addition to reducing extinction risk, the researchers state that conserving this land will also help to provide water purification, reduce flooding risks, prevent soil erosion and provide opportunities for ecotourism.

The authors of the report have said that natural areas can be conserved through a wide range of mechanism, from government-designated protected areas to community land management, these various methods will be discussed in Rome next week.

Lee Hannah, lead author of the study and senior scientist at Conservation International’s Moore Centre said: ‘2020 is the Super Year for Nature, and existing research shows that we are on the verge of sixth mass extinction if we do not commit to increasing conservation efforts.

‘The good news is that we now have the science to guide actionable solutions to this crisis.

‘If we prioritise key areas for conservation we can preserve biodiversity hotspots and slow global warming at the same time. It’s a win-win model.’

Patrick Roehrdanz, co-author and scientist at Conservation International said: ‘Climate change and species loss are largely human-driven.

‘Understanding the way these pressing issues are interconnected is key to implemented effective conservation solutions before it’s too late.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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