Scientists identify 137 protected areas most important for preserving biodiversity

by Jeremy Hance

Want to save the world’s biodiversity from mass extinction? Then make certain to safeguard the 74 sites identified today in a new study in Science. Evaluating 173,000 terrestrial protected areas, scientists pulled out the most important ones for global biodiversity based on the number of threatened mammals, birds, and amphibians found in the parks. In all they identified 137 protected areas (spread over 74 sites as many protected areas were in the same region) in 34 countries as “irreplaceable.”

"We highlight a set of exceptionally irreplaceable [protected areas] for which we recommend a particularly high level of management effort and encourage global recognition as World Heritage sites," the authors write.

According to the study, the most important protected area in the world for threatened species is the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Natural National Park in Colombia. Safeguarding a distinct mountain range on the Caribbean coastline, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Natural National Park is home to over 40 endemic species…

(read more: MongaBay)

photos: Red-ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) by: R.A. Mittermeier; Santa Marta Natural National Park in Colombia by Robin Moore; Canaima National Park World Heritage Site by Charles Besancon

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