Research proves that conservation works

Research proves that conservation works

By Ashmeeta Subra  May 8th, 2024

After a decade of examining conservation measures around the world, researchers have found that such programs are effective at reducing global biodiversity loss.


Published in the journal Science, researchers from dozens of institutes examined 186 studies covering 665 trials of conservation measures implemented across various regions and species types. The research revealed conservation initiatives achieved positive results in two out of every three cases by either improving or at least slowing biodiversity loss in the species or area targeted.  

Some of the biggest success stories in recent years include:  

  • Deforestation and fire frequency in the Brazilian Amazon significantly decreasing across protected areas and Indigenous lands. 

  • Deforestation rates in the Congo Basin decreasing by 74 per cent following the implementation of management plans. 

  • Least Tern breeding rates doubling thanks to predator management in Florida's barrier islands.  

  • Captive breeding and release boosting the natural population of Chinook salmon in Idaho’s Salmon River basin.   

“This study provides the strongest evidence to date that not only does conservation improve the state of biodiversity and slow its decline, but when it works, it really works," co-author Dr Penny Langhammer, executive vice-president of environment charity Re:wild, told BBC News. 

Dr Langhammer added that even in cases where interventions did not directly benefit targeted species, there were instances of unintentional benefits for other species. For example, establishing marine protected areas for Australian seahorses did not directly benefit the species as the populations of their natural predators also increased.  

Dr. Joseph Bull, an associate professor in climate-change biology at the University of Oxford, noted that while conservation efforts are effective, they lack the necessary funding and support to combat global biodiversity declines exacerbated by challenges like climate change. This emphasises the urgent need for increased resources to address this decline and meet goals set forth by international agreements like the Global Biodiversity Framework

While the focus of the research predominantly lies on trials in Australia, Western Europe, North America, and New Zealand, the next stage of research will seek to explore other regions around the world.  

Image credits to Stefan Andrews/Ocean Image Bank.

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


Positive Actions

Ashmeeta Subra

With background in international relations and marketing communications, Ashmeeta is excited to use her skills to encourage positive environmental actions through Planet Ark. She believes that by taking small actions, we can help make a big difference and be good stewards of our planet. Outside of work, she loves spending time in nature and enjoying downtime at the beach.

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