Environment

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.

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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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