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Study: Stability and effectiveness of governance key to PA success

For years, scientists have been warning that we may be entering a sixth mass extinction—where as many as 75 percent of all species could disappear over the course of just a few centuries—ushered in, no doubt, largely by human activity. We've polluted waterways, paved over ecosystems, and drastically altered the global climate. But there's good news: A new study shows that protected areas really do help species rebound from population declines—as long as those protected areas are in regions of the world with good, stable governance.

In the new study, published today in Nature, an international team of researchers looked at extensive records of global waterbird populations to gauge biodiversity levels in wetlands—which have been degraded at a faster rate than any other ecosystem in the world. Looking at three decades of waterbird surveys—covering 461 species and collected across 25,769 sites around the globe—the researchers found that population changes varied by geographical locations. South America, for example, saw waterbird populations fall by 21 percent over 25 years, while Europe saw populations climb over the same study period.


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