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Identifying the world’s top biodiversity investment returns

21 / 08 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

We’ve all been there: you’re driving along a road lined with trees, when all of a sudden a squirrel or some such animal runs out in front of your vehicle. If it’s a happy day, you steer clear of the forest dweller. Whatever the outcome of that particular encounter, it was a first-hand lesson on the dilemma species face when their habitat is lost because it was divided up. For the familiar tree squirrel, of which there are several species – they are accustomed to a home range of trees between 0.5-10 acres in natural forests. Those that live in parks have a range of 0.5 acres. Birds and other animals can have a much larger need for range. When the natural habitat is cut up, that squirrel and countless other creatures of the forest have to figure out if they can cross expanses like roads and other development or habitat-bare areas. For a team of international scientists, there is a simple answer: reconnect fragmented forest habitat and see species thrive. The international team of researchers notes that it can be done in two of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots in just a few years. The cost, they say, would be less than $70 million total. Buffalo live in the Eastern Arc Mountains, Tanzania. Photo by Rhett A. Butler. The team studied two biodiversity hotpsots, one in South America and one in Africa, and determined that regenerating forests in those locales is highly feasible. Estimated conservation costs would be less…

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