• Outdoors Outdoors

Study shows saving just over 1% of land could stop extinction of thousands of species: 'We have to be doing a much better job'

"It is doable."

"It is doable."

Photo Credit: iStock

What if we told you that setting aside just a little more land for nature could prevent thousands of the world's most threatened species from disappearing forever?

A new study published in Frontiers in Science says exactly that — and the amount of land might surprise you, according to the Guardian.

Researchers found that expanding protected areas to cover just 1.2% more of the Earth's land surface could be enough to stop the extinction of a huge number of animals and plants in the next five years. We're talking about some of the rarest mammals, birds, amphibians, and plants on Earth.

The scientists pinpointed over 16,000 key conservation sites around the globe that are home to species at the highest risk of extinction, per the Guardian. Focusing conservation efforts on these hotspots could make a massive difference.

Picture a type of cactus whose entire remaining population lives in one small corner of a desert or a tropical frog found in a single forest. Protecting these species' last habitats is critical. And the exciting news is that much of the land identified is close to existing protected areas, meaning quick action is possible, according to the news report.

Safeguarding these precious sites wouldn't just benefit wildlife. It would protect ecosystems that are vital to human communities, too. From the Philippines to Brazil, Colombia to Madagascar, preserving biodiversity and natural spaces directly supports local populations that depend on healthy landscapes.

World leaders have pledged to protect 30% of the planet by 2030, but they need to focus on the right places, the Guardian reported. As Dr. Eric Dinerstein, lead author of the study, put it: "The call to arms of this paper is that we have to be doing a much better job in the next five years and it is doable."

Expanding conservation to these critical locations would cost an estimated $29 billion to 46 billion over five years. It's no small sum, but it's an investment in a livable future for people and nature alike. 

In the fight against extinction, this study lights the way forward.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider