Wild biodiversity provides hope for a protected planet

19 July 2012 | News story

The wild biodiversity of the world’s parks, reserves and protected areas can be a vital component for conservation, according to the latest volume in a series on landscapes and seascapes that are influenced by humans. The book, published by IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation of Nature) World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), is titled Protected Landscapes and Wild Biodiversity. It provides a diverse set of worldwide case studies in protected areas with rich cultural, spiritual and natural heritage. Examples include Makuira National Park in Colombia, where the traditional knowledge and management system of the local indigenous Wayuu people has led to a well-protected area that benefits local communities; and the indigenous Angami people of Khonoma Village in Northeastern India, where an active youth organization plays an important role in management of local hunting.

Protected Landscapes and Wild Biodiversity is the first global attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of protected landscapes for biodiversity conservation and is the third volume in the series Values of Protected Landscapes and Seascapes.  With the IUCN World Conservation Congress less than two months from now, the book is a vital document of progress and challenges for protected areas, which will inform the progressive steps that must be taken at Congress. A launch of Protected Landscapes and Wild Biodiversity will take place at the Protected Planet Pavilion in Jeju, South Korea, on 7 September from 09:30 – 10:30am.

Key Issues:
• Recognition and fostering of indigenous people and local communities’ cultures and traditional roles in land and sea stewardship can bolster natural resources conservation and sustainable development.  “Protected areas have long provided a vehicle for official recognition of traditional management and support emerging ideas that protected areas need not be managed by the state but can be effective if they are under the control of indigenous peoples, local communities, and individuals,” says Jessica Brown, Member of the Series Editorial Team and Chair of the WCPA Specialist Group on Protected Landscapes. “Challenges remain, but local communities in countries from Australia to Croatia have shown that wild biodiversity in protected areas with a heavy human footprint can still thrive—these case studies serve as an important blueprint for the future.”

• Protected landscapes are effective for biodiversity conservation, yet good management is key. “We set out to investigate whether protected areas in human-influenced, cultural landscapes can provide effective biodiversity conservation—a critical issue for an increasingly crowded planet,” says Nigel Dudley, of Equilibrium Research, the volume’s Co-editor. “Our research suggests that if correctly managed, such areas can conserve biodiversity, but we are still at the beginning of learning how to carry out these landscape approaches that put conservation into practice.”

About IUCN
IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. IUCN is the independent advisory body to the World Heritage Committee on natural heritage. www.iucn.org

For more information, please contact:
Jamie Kemsey, Protected Areas Regional Communications Network Manager, IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme, m +66 81 934 1373, e james.kemsey@iucn.org;
Maggie Roth, IUCN Media Relations, m +1 202 262 5313, e maggie.roth@iucn.org