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Protecting half the planet can save the climate and many species of animals

A new map shows where new land protections could complement existing conserved area.

Earth faces two interrelated crises: accelerating loss of biodiversity and climate change. Both are worsened by human development of natural lands that would otherwise allow species to flourish and would store atmosphere-warming carbon, stabilizing the climate.

A new study argues that nations can help avert the biodiversity and climate crises by preserving the roughly 50 percent of land that remains relatively undeveloped. The researchers dub that conserved area a “Global Safety Net,” mapping out regions that can meet critical conservation and climate goals in a study published September 4 in Science Advances.

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