World’s protected forests face devastation unless managed properly

Only one percent of national parks, wildlife refuges, and other protected areas in 10 key forested countries are secure from serious threats, according to the World Bank/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Alliance.

Less than one quarter of national parks, wildlife refuges, and other protected areas in 10 key forested countries are well managed, and many have no management at all, the study conducted by IUCN – The World Conservation Union – for the World Bank/WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Use’s first annual report shows. This leaves such areas vulnerable to threats from human settlement, agriculture, logging, hunting, mining, pollution, war, and tourism, among other pressures.

In response to these findings the World Bank/WWF Alliance has called for 50 million ha of highly threatened forest protected area to be secured under effective management by the year 2005.

The Alliance is also seeking:

  • the creation of 50 million ha of new forest protected areas by 2005
  • independently certified sustainable management for 200 million ha of the world’s production forests by 2005

To secure 50 million ha of forest protected area under effective management by the year 2005, the Alliance must identify the world’s most threatened parks and to develop a system for implementation, improving and monitoring management of these areas.

“This research highlights the urgent need to manage these protected areas more effectively so that they are secure for the people and wildlife who depend upon them for their survival” says WWF-US President Kathryn S. Fuller.

The Alliance has projects in over 22 countries. In Vietnam, the Alliance has helped raise more than $1 million in private-sector investment from the Tropical Forest Fund, an association of furniture buyers committed to sustainable forestry.

In Georgia, Eastern Europe the WWF and World Bank collaboration led to the passage of a new forestry code that should halt devastation of that country’s forests.

The governments of Brazil, Peru and six nations of the Congo Basin are also committed to actions to help the Alliance meet two-thirds of its target for new protected areas.

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