Forest ‘Disruption’ Greater Threat Than Climate Change

Forest ‘Disruption’ Greater Threat Than Climate Change

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Deforestation of protected areas and illegal hunting of endangered species that live there has a greater impact on biodiversity than climate change, overfishing and the degradation of coral reefs, according to a researcher. The “rapid disruption” of protected tropical forests is the greatest threat to wildlife, Bill Laurance, a professor at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, said in an e-mail. He studied 60 protected areas in tropical regions around the world and is the lead author of an article that will be published in Nature.

Tropical forests are the most diverse ecosystems on Earth, and failing to maintain them may drive more species to extinction, he said. To serve as a sanctuary for wildlife, the areas must also be protected from nearby development and other activities in adjacent lands that will have impact on designated preserves.

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