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Biodiversity policy
- Biodiversity and development challenges in Africa

A cost-efficient and robust strategy for biodiversity conservation may have two pillars. The first pillar is the classical approach of identifying those parts of the land, waters and sea where the conservation value exceeds any other use value, and requires strict protection. The second pillar recognizes that, even with such a safety net in place, most wild organisms live in places that are used primarily for purposes other than biodiversity conservation. Adjustments to the way in which these ecosystems are used can lead to a high degree of biodiversity preservation, without unacceptable decreases in the output of other services.

The key issues for establishing an effective protected area network are prioritization of levels of protection and use. Identifying protected areas should not be arbitrary. Sufficient knowledge exists to apply more refined techniques to identify locations that are critical for many species, robust to climate change, and have a good chance of being economically viable. In general, consolidated reserves are more viable than the equivalent area of isolated patches. In some instances transboundary parks are important for habitat protection.

There are known priority areas for conservation in every country, but overall, the greatest current urgency relates to multitaxon centres of endemism, such as the Eastern Arc mountains and Mt Cameroon. As shown in Box 1, adopting collaborative approaches at multiple levels can be important for achieving biodiversity conservation objectives.

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