Ahead of the global meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Montreal, Canada, which decides on new goals for nature, the first study of its kind outlines the urgent need for more people and better-supported protected area staff to ensure Health of Life on Earth. In a new scientific article published today in the journal “Nature Sustainability”, an international team of scientists, including two members of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in Berlin, argue that there are not enough rangers. and other staff to manage even today’s protected areas around the world. The authors urge governments, donors, private landowners, and NGOs to increase the number of rangers and other personnel fivefold to meet global biodiversity conservation goals that have economic, cultural, and ecosystem benefits.
Governments from around the world will meet at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (in Montreal, Canada, from December 7 to 15) with the intention of committing to protect 30% of the resources of the planet. wildlands by 2030 (generally known as ’30 by 30′). This published scientific research now finds that there are not enough rangers and other personnel to effectively manage and safeguard even current protected areas. “Our system of protected areas is the lifeblood of the planet, providing people with clean air and water, storing carbon and preventing biodiversity loss,” says Mike Appleton, director of protected area management at Re:wild and author article main. “Yet there are more people employed at golf courses and country clubs in the United States than rangers in the world. The 30-by-30 goal is an important goal. It makes no sense if we’re not willing to invest in people to manage effectively and equitably these places”.
Co-author Andrew Tilker, Asian Species Officer at Re:wild and Scientist at Leibniz-IZW, adds: “The world needs rangers, to protect biodiversity, maintain essential ecosystem services and make sure wilderness areas stay wild. The findings should serve as a wake-up call to the world. It is essential that we increase the ranger workforce to ensure the health of protected areas around the world.”
Using data from 176 countries and territories, the study estimates that there are just 555,000 protected area staff worldwide, responsible for 17% of the world’s land area (more than 20 million square kilometres). Only 286,000 of them are rangers, who directly manage protected areas, uphold the law, work with visitors and local communities, and monitor wildlife. Rangers act as tour guides, firefighters, environmental advocates, and fill many other roles. Examples of protected areas include national parks, nature reserves, landscape reserves, conservation areas, natural monuments, state parks, and certain areas under indigenous and traditional sustainable management.
Co-author Alexandre Courtiol of Leibniz-IZW, who led the statistical analyses, says “analyzing the data was challenging, exciting, but also depressing. Our results revealed the woeful inadequacy of the current situation. But the good news is that they have now established a baseline from which to move forward. Courtiol and the team of scientists calculated that the effective protection and management of 30% of the planet’s land surface by 2030 will require a workforce of at least 2.9 million people, including an additional 1.53 million rangers. Along with government protected areas, many new types of areas will need to be conserved by staff from the private and non-profit sectors and, vitally, by indigenous and local communities who manage their own territories.
This is the first estimate of the global number of protected area personnel since 1999 and the first to specifically include rangers. The scientific research was led by a collaboration between Re:wild, the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, Leibniz-IZW, WWF, the African Ranger Association, the International Ranger Federation and the Asian Ranger Federation.
“This critical work is timely as our continued existence on this planet becomes increasingly fragile due to human-induced crises, climate change and biodiversity loss,” said Madhu Rao, chair of the World Area Commission. IUCN Protected. “For any country or region to have a chance of achieving the ambitious global goals that are being set to mitigate these detrimental effects, there must be significant investment in the people charged with protecting wildlife, natural ecosystems, natural resources, and communities and cultures that have sustained them for millennia. For ambitious global goals to be meaningful and effective, we need more committed, competent and well-supported people on the ground.”
The analysis also emphasizes the need not only to strengthen the workforce, but also to recognize protected area management as a vital professional service, similar to medical staff and first responders. Other studies have shown that protected area staff in many countries are poorly paid, poorly supported, poorly trained and endure poor working conditions.
“The effectiveness of the planet’s life support system is not just about the number of hectares protected, but about investing in good, skilled people,” says Chris Galliers, president of the International Ranger Federation. “While we are working hard to ensure our global ranger workforce is more representative, professional and accountable, they need much greater capacity and support as respected stewards of our wildlife and wild places. Rangers can and do play a key role. in reducing threats to the territories and livelihoods of local and indigenous communities, including mitigating the effects of climate change However, a strong commitment is urgently required that puts rangers at the center achievement of any of the global goals, including the 30 by 30 goal.
In addition to protecting biodiversity and cultures, protected area staff maintain vital ecosystem services and provide substantial economic benefits to local people and the wider economy. According to the analysis, each new protected area staff member could generate economic benefits worth at least US$28,800.
“Society must recognize the tremendous economic benefits that protected areas provide to communities, economies and our living planet,” says Wes Sechrest, Chief Scientist and CEO of Re:wild. “When we do, we can pay the modest costs of employing and supporting people to protect our planet, communities can benefit from the areas they manage, and countries can move quickly toward nature-positive, sustainable environmental practices.”