Scientists: If You Want to Conserve Biodiversity, Protect Latin America
Stephen Leahy - Inter Press Service
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September 11, 2013

A family travelling by boat along the San Juan River, a biodiversity-rich area on the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. (Germán Miranda/IPS)

UXBRIDGE, Canada - A team of scientists who analysed the richness of plant species around the world concluded that the ecosystems in need of immediate protection in order to meet the 2020 conservation goals set by the Convention on Biological Diversity are largely concentrated in Latin America.

Humanity’s life support system, which provides our air, water and food, is powered by 8.7 million different kinds of plants, animals and other living species. But those species are going extinct at an accelerating rate, representing a major threat to future human survival.

Recognising this threat, nearly every country in the world has agreed under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to protect 17 percent of the planet’s land areas and conserve 60 percent of the world’s plant species by the year 2020.

These twin goals, included in the 20 Aichi Targets, can only be achieved if far more land in the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America is properly protected, according to a new study published Sep. 6 in the journal Science.

The study, “Achieving the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Goals for Plant Conservation”, analysed the distribution of 110,000 different plant species to discover that about 67 percent the world’s plants live in 17 percent of the planet’s land area – mainly in tropical and subtropical regions.

Read the rest at Inter Press Service

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