AUG 29, 2018 06:49 PM PDT

Current Animal Conservation Efforts Skip Over Key Habitats, Study Finds

When it comes to animal conservation, opinions vary from one person to the next concerning how to go about it. But a new study published this week in the journal Science Advances describes what could be a practical method for conserving valuable wildlife.

Animal conservation is undoubtedly challenging, but there are ways it could be improved.

Image Credit: Pixabay

While most agree that conserving untouched wilderness is the way to go, the study instead suggests that it’s more important to focus primarily on critical habitats. In other words, it might be better to increase conservation efforts in regions known to have sophisticated wildlife density rather than working to preserve empty forests.

"There's a lot of discussion about protecting 'Half Earth' as a minimum to protect biodiversity. The challenge is, which half do we protect?" said Stuart L. Pimm, the lead author of the study.

"The predilection of national governments is to protect areas that are 'wild'—that is, typically remote, cold, or arid. Unfortunately, those areas often hold relatively few species. Our analysis shows that protecting even as much as half of the world's large wilderness areas will not protect many more species than at present."

Related: Anthropogenic noise pollution threatens wild spaces

Many endangered animals reside outside of protected wildlife parks and untouched patches of wilderness. That said, these animals will be the first to suffer the consequences if conservation efforts fail to focus on critical habitats.

The researchers allegedly reached their conclusion after analyzing current conservation techniques and putting everything they found on a map. While ongoing efforts do a fair job of protecting many animal populations from declining, results could be improved by targeting the key habitats that reside far and few in between these general focus zones.

As the researchers put it, it’s a matter of ‘filling the gaps.’

"Certainly, there are good reasons to protect large wild areas: they provide environmental services," Pimm added.

"An obvious example is the Amazon, where the loss of the forest there might cause massive changes to the climate. But to save as much biodiversity as possible, we have to identify the species that remain poorly protected—which this paper does—and then pinpoint where they are, so we can effect practical conservation."

Related: Giant panda removed from the endangered species list

As it would seem, an astonishing number of critical habitats reside within these so-called ‘gaps,’ and because they exist outside of protected, untouched wildernesses, they don’t receive as much attention from conservation efforts as they should.

The results underscore a momentous issue with current animal conservation efforts and may lay the groundworks for improvements in the future. At least, that’s the hope anyway.

It should be interesting to see how animal conservationists respond to the findings and whether they’ll consider them for future conservation plans. Of course, only time will tell…

Source: Phys.org, Science Advances

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 28, 2018
Earth & The Environment
AUG 28, 2018
African savannas are emitting three times the CO2 than thought
The Miombo woodlands extend over 2.5 million square kilometers across Africa, passing through Angola, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. This ecosystem provi...
SEP 10, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 10, 2018
The WWF is Outfitting Tanzanian Elephants with Satellite-Trackable Collars
Animal poachers frequently target elephants because their ivory tusks can rake in a significant profit on the black market. But contemporary technological ...
SEP 19, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 19, 2018
Forensic Efforts To Combat Ivory Poaching
Scientists are using DNA testing to identify poaching hotspots, and criminal networks....
OCT 03, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 03, 2018
Urban Blue Tits Lay Larger Eggs Than Their Forest-Dwelling Counterparts
Curious researchers from the University of Lodz wanted to know if there were any substantial differences between eggs laid by city-dwelling blue tits and t...
NOV 05, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 05, 2018
Anthropogenic Activity Reduces Bee Diversity, Study Confirms
Bee populations are in decline all over the globe, raising serious concerns about their current situation among conservationists. That said, researchers fr...
NOV 11, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
NOV 11, 2018
Bee Study Connects Social Behavior with Gene Variants
Researchers used a special kind of bee that can live in either social communities or isolation, as their research model....
Loading Comments...