‘Are they all the same?’, our data scientist Matthias Biber wondered when thinking of all protected landscapes of the world – whilst already guessing the answer: No! Protected landscape can be quite different due to variable climatic and geographic occurrences which accommodate life on Earth. Still, the variety of protected areas is not great enough. That was found by Matthias Biber’s research project, which he undertook along with Dr. Christian Hof and Dr. Alke Voskamp. They found out about a quite obvious situation regarding the global protected landscape scenarios: Very warm and dry areas, as well as the ocean’s deep see,- both relatively hostile and not very representative of what many of us call our environment,- are significantly less protected than other climate zones, regardless of its altitude.
Characteristics which were examined included temperature, precipitation, topography as well as salinity and temperature of the oceans’ surface. And the findings suggest that human action fosters a disequilibrium in biodiversity, because some threatened species are less protected than others. This in turn does mean that a whole range of species weren’t even protected, which suggests that we don’t know if and how they will adapt to climate change. Since ecosystems need a sound and dynamic biodiversity, this circumstance depicts a thread for both ecosystems and biodiversity. A very good reason to continue our research and to call for wide-ranging landscape protection on a global scale.
Read more: Matthias F. Biber, Alke Voskamp, Christian Hof (2021): Representation of the world’s biophysical conditions by the global protected area network. In: Conservation Biology.