Energy & Environment

42 percent of world’s protected areas were added in last decade: UN report

(Andrea Zinn/iStock)
River running through a forest in Alaska.

Forty-two percent of the planet now within protected and conserved areas has been added in the last decade, according to a new report released Wednesday. 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and the United Nations Environment Programme
released the finding in their Protected Planet Report, which measures progress the world has made toward the ambitious goals set in 2010 at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.

“These findings merit celebration of the major progress made over the last 10 years to grow the world’s network of protected and conserved areas,” the report states.

However, the report finds that the world fell just short of at least some of the 2010 goals to conserve “at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 percent of coastal and marine areas” in 10 years.

The greatest growth was seen in the marine and coastal areas, “where 68 percent of the current network’s area is less than ten years old.” However, “the total of 7.74 percent [of the global ocean] falls short of the 10 percent coverage target,” the report notes.

The report notes that pending marine designations will raise those figures.

On land, the report finds “16.64 percent coverage of terrestrial and inland water areas by protected areas and OECMs [other effective area-based conservation measures],” just short of the 17 percent goal.

Similarly, additional OECMs, which are being counted in this report for the first time, are likely to help reach that goal once they are mapped.

“Further efforts are needed to ensure that all areas of importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services are conserved,” the report finds, noting that about one-third of all “Key Biodiversity Areas” lack any coverage by protected areas or OECMs in the terrestrial and inland water realms as well as the marine realms.

Tags Protected areas The International Union for Conservation of Nature and the United Nations Environmental Program

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