Conservation

Making protection of biodiversity count

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Science  25 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6195, pp. 414-415
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6195.414-h

Kenya's Lake Nakuru National Park

PHOTO: BJØRN CHRISTIAN TØRRISSEN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Global protected areas aim to protect biodiversity, but they do not currently protect threatened species very well. Venter et al. report that 85% of threatened vertebrates need greater protection. Governments plan to increase protected areas from 13 to 17% of the land surface by 2020. But if governments continue to select cheap, marginal lands to protect, the protected species will increase only marginally. The authors suggest that choosing to protect areas where threatened species live would lead to a fivefold improvement in threatened species protection for only 1.5 times the cost of purchasing and protecting the cheapest land.

PLOS Biol. 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001891 (2014).

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