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14.0: Prelude to Conservation on Unprotected Lands

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    Farm workers tending rice fields near Monrovia, Liberia. Agricultural expansion is a major contributor to habitat loss, but is also a common cause of pollution, invasive species, and at scale, even climate change. There is an urgent need to adopt more sustainable agricultural practices and policies to ensure this sector continues to sustain food security and economic activity, but not at the expense of biodiversity. Photograph by blk24ga,,_Africa_-_panoramio_(103).jpg, CC BY 3.0.

    Well-managed protected areas are essential tools for securing intact ecosystems and the biodiversity they sustain. However, it will not be sufficient to rely solely on protected areas to preserve biodiversity. Harming ecosystems such as rivers and streams on unprotected lands has repeatedly been shown to decrease biodiversity also within protected areas (Colvin et al., 2011; Woodborne et al., 2012). Furthermore, many species only occur on unprotected lands (Beresford et al. 2011), and some species even fare better outside protected areas (Murgatroyd et al., 2016). Other species need to move out of protected areas to access important seasonal resources: about two-thirds of Kenya’s large animals regularly move from protected areas into unprotected rangelands in search of food and water (Young et al., 2005; Western et al. 2009a). Lastly, restoring damaged areas and maintaining intact ecosystems inside and outside of protected areas provides ecosystem services such as water and air purification. And so, while we must continue to pursue protected areas for the many benefits they do offer, we must not forget about the value of the spaces between protected areas. In this chapter, we will explore how efforts on unprotected lands can complement conservation efforts in protected areas.

    14.0: Prelude to Conservation on Unprotected Lands is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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