Some of the world's beautiful wildlife areas might be in grave danger. A new study points the blame finger directly at humans for causing damage.
2.3 Million Square Miles
On May 18, Science journal published a new study from a research team made up of scientists from the University of Queensland, the University of Northern British Columbia, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. The group discovered that one-third of the world's protected areas are under threat by human activities, which is 2.3 million square miles. The group compared the potential loss of land to double the size of Alaska.
The study points out that world leaders have roughly doubled the number of protected lands since the 1990s through a commitment under the Convention on Biological Diversity. This agreement was supposed to eliminate biodiversity losses by creating land boundaries. The research team noted that there are more than 200,000 protected areas around the globe.
Human Activities Detailed
However, the scientists believe that world governments have not adequately done their job in protecting the land. They noted that governments are overestimating spaces available for conservation habitats. The study claims that human activities are causing these protected lands to fall victim to infrastructure projects potentially. The team stated that these projects range from highways to urban development.
In the study, the team found that areas in Africa, Asia, and Europe were densely populated. Due to the highly populated areas, the research team believed that the growing population level could endanger the protected lands. The group also noted that potential threats to their ecosystems included an ever-increasing Ukrainian city within a national park, misplaced farms, and buildings in South Korea's Dadohaehaesang National Park, and roads destroying Tanzania's Mikumi National Park.
Improving The Environment
While the team hopes that government leaders try to restore the degrading protective areas, they noted that conservationists have worked on developing areas that are not impacted by human presence. The study pointed out that the Wildlife Conservation Society have used their resources to make sure that humans do not degrade locations such as Bolivia's Madidi National Park, Cambodia's Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary, and Ecuador's Yasuni Biosphere Reserve.
"The challenge is to improve the management of those protected areas that are most valuable for nature conservation to ensure they safeguard it," said Professor James Watson, a Wildlife Conservation Society research director and one of the study's authors, to The Independent.
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Tech Times reached out to the study's lead author, Kendall Jones, and the Wildlife Conservation Society for a comment on this story.