A new study reveals that protected areas will offer shelter to species migrating from a warming climate. But, only if the regions are strategically located to allow the species’ reproduction.
Earth will soon be home to over 9 billion people by mid-century, and many animals and plants are highly threatened by fragmented nature. Creating nature reserves is vital so the wildlife will survive in the long term.
It’s important not to forget how essential is wildlife.
Here is what you need to know.
Scientists Warn us About Huge Wildlife Loss
A new paper by the Royal Society reveals that species in Britain looking for a new home to adapt to the harsh climate change through migration could suffer a lot. The reason?
Apparently, many breeding habitats across Britain are unprotected. And that applies to thousands of species of birds, butterflies, and even bacteria. How did something like this happen?
Researchers also found enough proof that migration won’t happen as planned if we continue to ignore wildlife’s needs. They measured which habitats across the British countryside could offer vital sources for populations on the move. The findings are genuinely intriguing yet shocking.
Migrations Over Generations
Earth is warming and animals and plants need to adapt by migrating northward over generations. To figure out the best areas for that, researchers came up with a map. They also modeled networks for 16 types of habitats, such as mudflats, deciduous woodlands, and lowland meadows.
A proper habitat needs to have lands that a species’ offspring could live and settle there for long enough to reproduce.
“Our research is quite timely, because it highlights that long-distance connectivity hasn’t been properly considered in past protection decisions,” explained Tom Travers, study co-lead author.
But, what the researchers discovered is quite disappointing. They found some important regions for facilitating south-north migration that don’t offer current standards. Others, including coastal sand dunes and maritime cliffs, appeared too spread out or broken up to be included.
Moreover, the researchers found that those habitats were less than one square kilometer (0.4 square miles) in some cases.
Currently, a draft agreement under negotiation ahead of a UN biodiversity summit in China next year, includes developing 30 % of land and ocean surface as protected. And that within a decade!