Protected areas: vital for the conservation of amphibians

mundi anfibiosA decade ago, some studies demonstrated that around 17% of amphibian species in the world were distributed almost completely outside of protected areas. Luckily, protected areas throughout the world have increased in recent years, and, in addition, now we have more information about the distribution of amphibian species. It was, therefore, time again to analyze the importance of the protected areas in the conservation of the amphibians, and this is what Nori and collaborators of a published article in the Biological Conversation journal have done.

Sadly, according to this recent study, currently the proportion of species whose distribution does not include any protected area has increased 24%, which represents more than 1500 species. In addition, for another 18% of amphibian species, the distribution comprised less than 5% of protected areas.

The amphibian species that are found outside these protected areas (what these authors call a “gap species”) are frequently those whose distribution is very restricted, or that occupy territories dominated by human use.

To make matters worse, on one hand, many protected areas which do not have suitable potential for the protection of biodiversity are already located in areas lacking interest for the exploitation of human uses. And on the other hand, it is precisely the areas that suffer the majority of human impact where the most threatened species are found. In this manner, 65% of the “species gap” is living in landscapes modified by human activity.

To continue with this scenario of the low level of protection and continuing impact on many species will inevitably worsen the poor state of conservation of the world’s amphibians. For them, it is necessary, not only to increase protected areas in the world, but to set up in such a way as to generate a greater benefit for the conversation of amphibians.

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