Report shows more protected areas
Around 15% of the world’s terrestrial area is better safeguarded by conservation measures, as well as over 7% of the world’s oceans, ensuring the world is on track to meet important conservation targets, according to the latest Protected Planet Report.
The Protected Planet Report 2018 reviews the progress of Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, which aims for the effective and equitable management of 17% of terrestrial and 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020. The report concludes that the world is on track to meet the coverage aspect of Target 11, and emphasizes the need to meet other aspects by 2020.
In addition to hosting the data that underpins the report, there is now a new interactive digital version, highlighting key indings, and providing monthly updates to track progress.
By July 2018, more than 20 million km2 of the earth’s land surface and nearly 27 million km2 of marine areas had been designated as ‘Protected Areas’ - locations that receive protection to achieve the long-term conservation of nature. This represents an increase in 0.2% of terrestrial and 3.2% of marine areas since the last report was published in 2016. Every month, new areas are being added and the online version of the report provides the latest information, as world leaders work to fulfil their agreed goals by 2020.
Protected Planet® provides the most up-to-date and complete source of information on protected and conserved areas at the global level. For example, the Ross Sea Region Marine Protected Area was added to the World Database on Protected Areas in 2017. This is now the world’s biggest protected area at over two million square kilometres. Thanks to its designation, ishing is now banned in 432,000 square miles of this Antarctic reserve, in an attempt to preserve over 16,000 species, including the Adelie Penguin and Minke Whale. The site is managed by the governments of New Zealand and United States of America.
More protected areas
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has admitted 15 new natural sites to the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas – the irst global standard recognizing best practice in protected areas. Sites in Egypt, France, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Peru and the United Arab Emirates received the certiication at the recent UN Biodiversity Conference in Egypt, bringing the total number of sites on the IUCN Green List to 40.
Launched in 2014, the IUCN Green List measures the effectiveness of protected areas, rewards the best sites and provides an incentive for sites around the world to improve their management. Green listed sites are certiied as being effectively managed and fairly governed, with a positive impact on people and nature.
The IUCN Green List also helps measure and accelerate progress towards Aichi Target 11, a UN biodiversity target which aims for 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas to be protected, effectively conserved and fairly managed by 2020. While the world is on track to meet the coverage aspect of Target 11, the ‘effectiveness’ aspect is still far from being reached.
Two of the newly added sites are located in Egypt, including Ras Mohammed National Park, a marine site near Sharm ElSheikh where, thanks to effective conservation, some reefs boast a 90% coverage of live corals, compared to 30-40% on average for non-protected reefs in the Red Sea.
Sites on the IUCN Green List have demonstrated excellence based on a rigorous assessment of 17 criteria of success in four areas: governance, management, design and planning, and conservation outcomes. In Lebanon’s Al Shouf Cedar Reserve the threatened Lebanon cedar, a cultural symbol for the country, is thriving thanks to restoration and conservation projects. The management of the reserve has successfully adapted to the current refugee inlux from neighbouring Syria, with refugees participating in conservation work. The reserve also contributes to the local economy by providing resources used for traditional products and organic food.
France is the country with most sites on the IUCN Green List, from small areas close to cities to vast marine reserves. In the Terres Australes Françaises nature reserve near Antarctica, the management succeeds in keeping human access and activities in check, despite the site’s huge size – 2.2 million hectares. Threats such as illegal ishing and invasive species are thus monitored and limited. The site is important for scientiic research as well as commercially viable ish species.
InPeru’sAmarakaeriCommunal Reserve, another newly greenlisted site, fair governance has led to improved management. Ten indigenous groups living around the park effectively conserve their ecosystems and help assess rare species, including the Endangered Amarakaeri poison frog discovered in 2017. Ecotourism and other sustainable activities, developed through collaborative agreements, support the local economy. The park lies in one of the world’s most biodiversity-rich areas in the Peruvian Amazon. Growing commitments Since its launch, the number of countries committing to the IUCN Green List has grown fourfold – from eight to 33. Some 250 candidate sites have now volunteered to achieve its standard. The process of certiication is voluntary and can take between six months and ive years, during which time the sites work towards clear objectives and targets. For example, Van Long Nature Reserve, Viet Nam, became a candidate in 2015. The certiication process has helped secure commitment to expand the protected area into two neighbouring provinces.
Countries including Australia, Cote D’Ivoire, Kenya, Malaysia, Madagascar, as well as the US State of California, have committed to nominating more sites to the IUCN Green List in the near future. California is prioritizing its 124 marine protected areas, while Europe is studying how the standard could be implemented across its network of protected areas, Natura 2000. China, which counts six protected areas on the IUCN Green List, plans to nominate more sites.