In a joint statememt posted online in December, some of the world’s largest conservation organizations called for 30 percent of the planet to be managed for nature by 2030—and for half the planet to be protected by 2050. And this week a United Nations working group responded by posting a summary of this idea (direct download). But exactly what counts as “protected”—and how countries can reach those goals—is still up for some debate.
Conservationists say these high levels of protection are necessary to safeguard benefits that humans derive from nature—such as the filtration of drinking water and storage of carbon that would otherwise increase global warming. The areas are also needed to prevent massive loss of species.