Protecting contemporary biodiversity from the deluge of human activities that threaten life on earth is more difficult and requires a global network of reserves that includes all species. In the most recent issue of Ecology Letters, scientists at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and Texas Tech University analysed the extent and adequacy of protected areas in the New World for conserving biodiversity.
They found that the current reserve system comprises reserves that are too few, too small, and that fail to protect the most vulnerable species. For instance, ~60% of 1413 reserves in the New World are < 10 km2 - only a tenth the size of Disney World in Florida. Thirty-five percent of the area of these reserves is in Alaska. Moreover, 82% of bat species of conservation concern are not adequately protected. Using bats as surrogates for all biota, the researchers delineated ten regions where conservation investments may have the greatest impact in preventing biodiversity losses.