A new study published Wednesday in Nature provides the first hard evidence that conservation spending to set up and protect nature reserves and parks is saving species.
Between 1992–2003, $14.4 billion was spent in total in the 109 countries studied, including Brazil and China. (Dollar amounts here are in what researchers call “international dollars,” a conversion from US dollars to account for differences in purchasing power in each country.) That investment resulted in a 29 percent-per-country average decrease in the rate of biodiversity decline between 1996–2008, the new paper concludes.
It takes a few years before investments in conservation show results, lead author Anthony Waldron, a conservation scientist at Oxford University, told me in a phone interview.
“Our study answers the big question about the effectiveness of conservation investments,” said Waldron. Most of the funding in that time period supported reserves and protected areas. “We only looked at spending that went …