Alteration of terrestrial environments for the benefit of humans must end. The world’s biodiversity is at a tipping point and to prevent extinction requires: at least 44% of our planet – equivalent to the area covered by the continents of Africa and the Americas – is protected or leave it as it was before man destroyed it.
A group of scientists led by the University of Amsterdam warns, insisting that now is the time to eradicate humans’ toxic relationship with nature. And the thing is, even though 70% of the terrestrial area is virgin today, it is estimated. The transformation of the land will not only grow in the coming decades, but it is accelerating by leaps and bounds.
In fact, in just eight years (in 2030) heavy human use could destroy 1.3 million square kilometers of land, an area much larger than South Africa occupies, according to this research group. “This would be devastating for wildlife,” says ecologist James Allan, lead author of this article. This means that in less than a decade, 2% of the total area of 64 million square kilometers that experts advocate conservation will be gone.
More than 1.8 billion people live in the same lands whose protection is demanded.Therefore, in the eyes of researchers, it is “essential” to develop responses that promote “autonomy, self-determination, equity and sustainable management” to conserve biodiversity.
The planned 30% is not enough
With this study, scientists want to lay the foundations of the future “planet protection plan”, which is one of the lines of action that countries are discussing today. His mention of action plans is not trivial, given that the recent debates in the European Union to set 2030 targets talk about protecting 30% of the planet in terms of protected areas. “It’s a big step in the right direction, but Goals should be more ambitious” highlights conservation expert Kendall Jones, who also participated in the article.
Ten years ago, conservation of natural areas hit the political agenda through the Aichi Biodiversity Goals set by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. At that time, countries set a clear goal: at least 17% of their land area had to be protected. They would do this through the world system of protected areas (PA) or other types of figures that would improve both the biodiversity status and ecosystems. Scientists now regret that the deal wasn’t more ambitious. “Obviously not enough to stop species decline and prevent crisis” indicates Jones.
The planet’s biodiversity is at stake, and this latest article may serve to lay the foundations for an accurate roadmap. This is why scientists consider it “important” to establish conservation actions that support both the autonomy and self-determination of the inhabitants of these lands, and that allow the ecological integrity of ecosystems to be maintained and not rely solely on designating a place as protected. area.
“We have many effective conservation tools,” from empowering indigenous peoples to learn how to manage their natural environment, setting limits on deforestation, and of course “declaring protected areas.”
Reference work: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abl9127
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