An analysis shows how existing terrestrial protected areas (dark green) could be augmented with additional conserved land to achieve conservation and climate goals, such as preserving rare species nearing extinction (pink) or keeping large tracts of wilderness intact (dark blue). Earth faces two interrelated crises: accelerating loss of biodiversity and climate change. Both are worsened by human development of natural lands that would otherwise allow species to flourish and would store atmosphere-warming carbon, stabilizing the climate. A new study argues that nations can help avert the biodiversity and climate crises by preserving the roughly 50 percent of land that remains relatively undeveloped. The researchers dub that conserved area a “Global Safety Net,” mapping out regions that can meet critical conservation and climate goals in a study published September 4 in Science Advances. Eric Dinerstein, a conservation biologist at RESOLVE, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., and colleagues began by mapping out existing protected areas, which cover about 15 percent of land. The team then sequentially added slices of land needed to meet different conservation goals, using existing biodiversity databases. To protect species most threatened by extinction that aren’t already protected, an extra 2.3 percent of land would need to […]

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