Spending cuts on protected areas 'worrying'

2014-09-02 14:54

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Cape Town – A new study has shown that protected areas are effective in the conservation of biodiversity, but the SA lead researcher has raised concerns about governmental budget cuts.

Despite positive findings lead researcher, Dr Bernard Coetzee from the University of Stellenbosch, said budget cuts to organisations like SanParks from government are ‘really worrying’.

Onno Huyser, programme manager for Fynbos-Succulent Karoo Biomes at the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation, says there are clearly areas of concern in South Africa and that budgets are not as stable and secure.

According to Huyser globally we need approximately $33.75bn annually, to meet global CBD [Convention on Biological Diversity] targets. “At the moment we probably have about 10% of the total needed.”

“But in general the trends show that our PA [protected areas] investments and budgets have grown – over the medium term,” he told News24.

Coetzee’s study, which was conducted in collaboration with Monash University, found that protected areas “generally have higher abundances of individual species, high assemblage abundances, and higher species richness values compared with alternative land uses”.

“We had quite a few data points for South Africa and in general - the overall trends are positive - which is fantastic news,” Coetzee told News24.

“It really does go to show that investing in protected areas, with organisations like SanParks, is a sound investment for biodiversity conservation.”

The study, published in PlosOne, carried out a meta-analysis of 86 studies which each compared biodiversity inside protected areas to that of surrounding areas.

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Read more on:    sanparks  |  conservation  |  environment

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