A third of the world's natural heritage 'in danger,' says report
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A third of the world's natural heritage 'in danger,' says report

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Significant threats such as invasive species, logging, poaching and climate change are endangering more than a third of the world’s natural heritage sites, according to a major new threat assessment.

The analysis – the first to cover all 228 natural world heritage sites – found that 21 per cent were deemed to have a good conservation outlook, while 42 per cent were found to be “good with some concerns.” On the flip side, 29 per cent of sites have “significant concerns”, with 8 per cent listed as “critical” – meaning the sites require urgent attention or risk losing their “natural value”.

The study, released at the World Parks Congress and conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), also found that 54 per cent of world heritage sites are well managed, but 13 per cent of all sites are “seriously deficient in protecting species and landscapes”.

The report cited invasive species, the impact of tourism, poaching, dams and logging as the most pressing threats, although climate change may soon eclipse all of these factors, while active war zones are also having a damaging effect on cultural and natural heritage sites around the world.

The majority of the critical sites on the survey are based in Africa, while The Everglades national park in Florida, US, has been listed as critical, mainly due to the area’s drop in water quality, introduced pest species and vulnerability to climate change.

Three Australian sites – the Great Barrier Reef, Kakadu and Queensland’s wet tropics – have all been listed as significant concerns, while Machu Picchu in Peru and Tanzania’s Serengeti are also notable inclusions on the endangered list.

“This is something we all need to ensure the success of,” said Cyril Kormos, vice chair of the IUCN world commission on protected areas, “If we fail to protect the most valuable, iconic protected areas on the planet, we fail as a conservation community.”

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Significant threats such as invasive species, logging, poaching and climate change are endangering more than a third of the world’s natural heritage sites, according to a major new threat assessment.
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