Protected areas for wildlife expand to size of Russia

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 9:25am

OSLO (Reuters) - Protected areas for wildlife have expanded worldwide to cover a land area the size of Russia in the past two decades, but far more parks and reserves are needed to meet a 2020 target, a study showed on Friday.

The sharp growth, as governments expanded existing areas and declared new ones, was needed to help slow a loss of animal and plant species and to conserve eco-systems which serve vital functions such as purifying water and storing greenhouse gases, it said.

"These rich natural areas are very important for people, who rely on them for food and clean water, climate regulation and reducing the impacts of natural disasters," said Julia Marton-Lefevre, head of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).



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