Friday, August 24, 2012

Research charts growing threats to biodiversity 'arks'

Environmental Research Web: Many of the world's tropical protected areas are struggling to sustain their biodiversity, according to a study by more than 200 scientists from around the world.

But the study published in Nature includes research focusing on a reserve in Tanzania by University of York scientists that indicates that long-term engagement with conservation has positive results.

Dr Andy Marshall, of the Environment Department at York and Director of Conservation Science at Flamingo Land, compared the data he collected in the Udzungwa mountains with data collected more than 20 years previously by Jon Lovett, formerly of the University of York and now Professor of Global Challenges at the University of Leeds.

Conservation efforts in this biodiversity hotspot have paid dividends. It is one of the few sites that are relatively unchanged from a biodiversity point of view.

Professor William Laurance, from James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, said that "these reserves are like arks for biodiversity."

"But some of the 'arks' are in danger of sinking," he said, "even though they are our best hope to sustain tropical forests and their amazing biodiversity in perpetuity."...

Edward Hicks, "Noah's Ark," 1846

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