19 Oct 2010:
Global Community Falls Short
of Ocean Protection Goals, Report Says
With only 1 percent of the planet’s oceans currently under protection, the international community has fallen far short of the 10 percent target
set at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Convention on Biological Diversity, according to a new report. And even that percentage is inflated by the protection of very large marine parks, leaving numerous vulnerable areas unrepresented and unprotected, said Mark Spalding, a senior marine scientist with The Nature Conservancy and one of the report’s editors. While more than 4.2 million square-kilometers of ocean are now protected — about 1.17 percent of the planet’s marine area — most of that is in the continental shelf areas. The report says efforts so far have failed to protect a representative selection of regions, species, and habitats critical for biodiversity and conservation — particularly as scientists learn more about the effects of climate change on the planet’s oceans. The report was released by a coalition that includes scientists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the UN Environmental Program.
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Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
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The Warriors of Qiugang
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A three-part series Tainted Harvest
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