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The scientists calculated that with 30 percent protected, if greenhouse gases were also curtailed—consistent with the aim of keeping global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels—the species’ extinction risk could fall by more than 50 percent.
These results could help inform United Nations officials scheduled to meet this year. Focused on conserving the world’s flora and fauna, the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity has proposed conserving 30 percent of Earth’s land and oceans by 2030. Formal protection from development could save vulnerable ecosystems and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The model does not, however, take into account how different species interact with one another and with the landscape. A hummingbird may move to a new location, but the plants it depends on may not, for example. Still, says Rachael Gallagher, a biologist at Australia’s Macquarie University in New South Wales, who was not involved in the study, the paper “provides an evidence base for those advocating to expand the world’s protected areas.”
This article was originally published with the title “Extinguishing Extinct
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