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Scientists urge overhaul of the world’s parks to protect biodiversity

11 / 04 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

Countries should concentrate on outcomes instead of actions when they set aside areas for parks and reserves to shore up the loss of biodiversity, according to a group of scientists. At the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity conference in Aichi, Japan, in 2010, more than 190 countries committed to protecting 17 percent of the Earth’s land and 10 percent of the oceans by 2020, along with 19 other goals aimed at stemming the worldwide loss of biodiversity. But the researchers say that Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, the current guide for increasing the proportion of the planet that’s protected, is too focused on percentage targets. That leads to conservation of less critical areas and other “perverse outcomes,” said Piero Visconti, the paper’s lead author and an ecologist at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna. Mountain gorillas in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Image by John C. Cannon/Mongabay. “Everyone is celebrating the fact that we’ve nearly got 17 percent of land formally protected,” Visconti said. “Except biodiversity keeps going down both inside and outside protected areas.” Visconti and his colleagues published their paper April 11 in the journal Science. The team acknowledges that the goals set forth in the Aichi Biodiversity Targets likely spurred increases in the area of land and sea protected since 2010. But Aichi Target 11 has led countries to focus on hitting those numbers, not creating protected areas, or PAs, that will best protect threatened species, they write. “Having a percentage…

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