Protected Areas See Continued Deforestation But at a Reduced Rate, OSU Research Shows

A survey of more than 18,000 land parcels spanning 2 million square miles across 63 countries shows that a “protected area” designation reduces the rate of deforestation but does not prevent it.


Published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution, the findings are important because most terrestrial species live in forests and because the study suggests that just 6.5% of the Earth’s woodlands are truly protected, well below the 2020 target of 17% set by the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity.

The findings are also timely given President Biden’s recent executive order on climate change, which calls for protecting 30% of the United States’ land and waters, up from the current 12%, and developing “a plan for promoting the protection of the Amazon rainforest and other critical ecosystems that serve as global carbon sinks.”

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