Over the last 130 years, over 100,000 protected areas (national parks, sanctuaries, reserves, etc) have been established, covering some 12% of the Earth’s land surface – more than India and China put together.
This is an impressive accomplishment – and has contributed enormously to the conservation of many threatened and endangered species and habitats.
But despite this, several problems with the current network of protected areas mean that the world’s biodiversity and natural areas remain under threat.
For example, many habitats, such as marine and freshwater areas, are not well-represented, while many protected areas are too small and isolated to conserve their habitats effectively. In addition, poor management of some protected areas is undermining conservation efforts.
What needs to be done?
Basically, governments need to declare many new protected areas as well as effectively manage existing ones and ensure connectivity between them.