|Title||National Parks with Benefits: How Protecting the Planet's Biodiversity Also Provides Ecosystem Services|
|Publication Type||Web Article|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Authors||Dudley, N, Zogib L, Hockings M, MacKinnon K, Sandwith T, Stolton S|
Ecosystem services are declining just when their value is being fully appreciated for the first time. The world’s protected areas, currently covering over 12 percent of land surface in the form of national parks and nature reserves, provide the largest single source of secure ecosystem services alongside their more recognized roles of biodiversity conservation and recreation. The natural ecosystems in protected areas provide food security; regular, clean water supplies; disaster mitigation; carbon sequestration; and a wealth of cultural and spiritual services. Yet discussions about protected areas rarely focus on the ecosystem services they provide and from which they could benefit financially. Rather than look at protected areas as preserves cut off from our human activity except as tourist destinations, we need to recognize their broader role in our economies. Last year, signatory countries to the Convention on Biological Diversity agreed to increase total protected area coverage to 17 percent of land and freshwater and 10 percent of coastal waters. Well-designed, equitably managed protected areas could provide a powerful solution for maintaining ecosystem services, conserving biodiversity, and addressing the needs of human communities.
National Parks with Benefits: How Protecting the Planet's Biodiversity Also Provides Ecosystem Services
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