Protected areas — such as nature reserves, national parks, and wilderness areas — are essential to conserving biodiversity.
Protected areas — such as nature reserves, national parks, and wilderness areas — are essential to conserving biodiversity. New research published in Environmental Research Letters provides insights for developing climate-smart conservation strategies. The study looked at the global network of protected areas, evaluated potential for shifts in where plants and animals occur due to climate change, and as a result identifies the need for strategic conservation plans that transcend international borders and protect at-risk species.
“As the planet continues to warm, we expect a number of species to move out of some protected areas and into others as they shift their ranges in response to climate change,” says lead-author Sean Parks, a research ecologist with the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute.
The researchers found that some species currently in protected areas may have to cross international boundaries to find more suitable climate conditions. As they move, they may face physical barriers, such as border fences, and non-physical barriers, such as inconsistent conservation policies in different areas and countries.
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