Thursday, July 26th, 2012 - The University of Adelaide
An international group of environmental scientists involving researchers from the University of Adelaide has shown that many of the world’s tropical protected areas are struggling to sustain their biodiversity.

In a paper published online today in the journal Nature, ecology researchers argue that while most tropical reserves are helping to protect their forests, approximately half are struggling to maintain their biodiversity.

"Key questions are: do protected areas in fact protect their biodiversity, or are they suffering from various ills, perhaps as the environments around them are increasingly being modified?" says Professor William Laurance from James Cook University and lead author of the paper.

Professor Corey Bradshaw, Director of Ecological Modelling at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute and a senior author of the paper, says a better job needs to be done to defend protected areas.

"More and more countries are trying to increase the amount of land covered by protected areas, and we always say we’re not doing enough or we’re not protecting enough. But if existing protected areas are often struggling to do their intended job, how can we assist them?

"We need to fight internal and external threats and structure more support for protected areas in their local environment. Such efforts will ensure protected areas are made more resilient against future threats such as climate change.

"Protected areas do not act as islands buffered from the sea of degradation surrounding them. What we do around the protected areas can have a major impact on them internally," says Professor Bradshaw.


Media Contact (please note, Professor Bradshaw is currently in the United States):

Professor Corey Bradshaw
Director, Ecological Modelling
The Environment Institute
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Currently overseas: +1 408 219 1796 (landline)

Distinguished Professor William Laurance
School of Marine and Tropical Biology
James Cook University
Phone: +61 (0)7 4038 1518

Contact Profile

David Ellis, Media Officer

P: +61 8 8303 5414
M: +61 421 612 762
W: www.adelaide.edu.au/news

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An international group of environmental scientists involving researchers from the University of Adelaide has shown that many of the world’s tropical protected areas are struggling to sustain their biodiversity.

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