Today only 15 percent of land and 7 percent of our ocean are protected.
We’re on track to reach a global goal of protecting 17 percent of land and 10 percent of the ocean by 2020, but world leaders need to dramatically boost ambition if we are to protect our natural world and the people and wildlife that depend on it. Nature provides critical resources that sustain life on Earth — from the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat to its ability to counteract the damaging impacts of climate change.
We know that in protected areas, life comes back.
wolves in yellowstone
When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park after being locally extinct there for 70 years, ecosystems rebounded. After decades without wolves as a predator, grazing elk in the region had degraded landscapes, reducing the coverage of plants and small trees. With the reintroduction of wolves, elk changed their behavior, avoiding places where they faced threats from the wolves and allowing habitats for birds, otters, and aquatic life to bounce back.
Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic.