Canadian Forest Service Publications

Scientific evidence for fifty percent?. Wiersma, Y. F., Sleep, D. J. H., & Edwards, K. (2017). BioScience, 67(9), 781-782.

Year: 2017

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40403

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1093/biosci/bix067

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Plain Language Summary

An article by Dinerstein and colleagues (2017) presents a useful inventory of the amount of global protected area coverage. This article also provides an assessment on how close the planet is to reaching a target of 50 percent protection. The authors imply that 50 percent is an appropriate, science-based target for protected area coverage. We are concerned with the assumption that the 50 percent target is appropriate and based on scientific evidence. We have read the papers cited by Dinerstein and colleagues as evidence for the 50 percent target. The data we looked at explained that the actual target in each region may vary. The targets in the cited papers varied from a range for 10 percent to 100 percent. It is unreasonable to suggest that this wide data range could be described in a general statement such as “about half” based on a single target. While simple targets are appealing for policy development, policymakers will benefit from clear communication with scientists.