How humans are destroying the world’s protected areas

An international team of researchers, including University of Northern British Columbia ecosystem science and management associate professor Oscar Venter, has found that one-third of the world’s protected area has been so damaged by human activities that it compromises their ability to conserve biodiversity and stop extinctions.

Venter warns that Canadian parks are also at risk. “While Canada is doing far better than most countries, with only 2.5-percent of our parks heavily modified, some of our major recreational parks are at risk of being loved to death,” Venter said in a release. “If we look at our Rocky Mountain parks for instance, the infrastructure and volume of visitors makes it hard to maintain healthy populations some endangered species.”

 The Human Footprint map, published in 2016 by Venter and colleagues, was used to analyze human activity across almost 50,000 protected areas worldwide. The results of the study have been published in Science.