Reversing biodiversity loss, halting climate change and even preventing the emergence of new pandemics may seem like isolated objectives, but they are not. A group of scientists set out to create an interactive digital map to show which land areas are essential to meet these challenges and save life on Earth. Their findings, titled “A ‘Global Safety Net’ to reverse biodiversity loss and stabilize the Earth’s climate” and recently published in the journal Science Advances, concluded that there is an urgent need to preserve 50.4% of the Earth’s surface. Some 15.1% is already under protection, but this leaves 35.3% still lacking.
The research team, consisting of scientific research institute RESOLVE, the organization One Earth and several U.S. universities, created a map highlighting currently protected areas and those in need of conservation: five “realms” with rare species, areas of high biodiversity, large mammal assemblages, intact wilderness areas, and climate stabilization areas. And for the 35.3% of land that needs protection, the researchers also included a network of climate and wildlife corridors to connect the different habitats.