such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
With human activity pushing more and more species to the brink of
extinction--species abundance has declined by 40% between 1970 and 2000
alone--the need to protect biodiversity has never been more urgent. In
a new essay conservation biologist Luigi Boitani and his colleagues
argue that the next meeting of the World Conservation Congress in
October is the perfect opportunity to codify policies that can make
significant gains in biodiversity conservation and stanch the loss of
species, habitat, and ecosystem services.
Organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature
(IUCN), the meeting will bring together a large constituency of
conservationists to discuss the most pressing issues in biodiversity
conservation. A key issue on the agenda will be the revision of the
IUCN categories of Protected Areas. Though conservation biologists have
long recognized Protected Areas' value for conserving biodiversity and
for facilitating species and habitat management and recovery, these
roles have not been incorporated into the parameters that the IUCN uses
to categorize Protected Areas.
The current IUCN Protected Area categories reflect management
intent--how they should be organized and used--rather than "the basic
goal of promoting the persistence of biodiversity," Boitani et al.
argue. This disconnect represents a serious lost opportunity to reverse
the rapid decline of the planet's natural resources.
Because Protected Areas are the basis for assessing how engaged
governments are in conserving their resources, they have a considerable
impact on national and international conservation policies. Boitani et
al. make the case that shifting the focus of the categories toward
conservation outcomes would substantially enhance their value as tools
for protecting biodiversity. The authors argue that "such a redesign
would reduce the subjectivity of current classifications in favor of
more objective criteria, appropriately based upon definable biological
By basing categories on conservation objectives concerning the
species, communities, or processes that are to be maintained or
restored--including, for example, viability of populations or set of
habitat types to be maintained--progress and successes can then be
monitored and recorded. "Toward that end," the authors argue, "PAs
should be defined using criteria that include any measurable aspects of
the particular biodiversity features that are the primary reason for
protecting that area in the first place."
With over 100,000 protected areas worldwide, the switch from
management-based outcomes to biodiversity-based outcomes will have huge
implications for preserving the earth's rapidly diminishing
biodiversity. The IUCN is the only institution able to facilitate the
change that Boitani says is so critical to international conservation
efforts. While the political hurdle of obtaining international
cooperation in a difficult revision of conservation efforts looms
large, he says, "Our arguments are absolutely obvious, logical and
sound. It is only a matter of time."
Journal reference: Boitani L, Cowling RM, Dublin HT, Mace GM,
Parrish J, et al. (2008) Change the IUCN (International Union for
Conservation of Nature) protected area categories to reflect
biodiversity outcomes. PLoS Biol 6(3): e66.
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