Scientists at Cambridge University in the UK have criticized the popular Half-Earth idea of creating specially protected natural areas that cover 50 percent of the earth’s surface. According to researchers, such an undertaking could endanger the lives of a billion people. This was reported in a press release on EurekAlert !.
Specialists determined which territories should be given the status of specially protected in order to ensure 50% preservation of each ecological region – large land areas characterized by a relatively uniform composition of vegetation and animals. Ecoregions include, for example, Amazonia, Central African mangrove forests and Baltic mixed forests.
It turned out that, even if urban territories and agricultural lands were avoided, around a billion people would be in specially protected areas, living mainly in middle-income countries.
As the authors write, although radical action is necessary to preserve life on Earth, the ecological well-being of man should remain a priority. The social and economic consequences of nature conservation should be considered first, the researchers say. Thus, the special protection of more land may require the resettlement of people, who will also lose access to resources. On the other hand, living in a territory with a special status can favorably affect the health and mental well-being of the population.
An estimated 247 million people currently live in areas with special conservation status. In the case of the implementation of the “Half-Earth” scenario, this number will increase fourfold.