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Human Benefits of Protected Areas

“Research from around the globe suggests that parks can successfully balance conservation and development and are one of the most important mechanisms for permanent protection of natural resources,” said Katharine Sims, an economics and environmental professor at Amherst College. Her comments appeared in a recent article titled “Chile Establishes 10 Million Acres of National Parks in ‘Gigantic’ Move for Conservation,” which appeared in the Huffington Post.

The article goes on to say that not only can protected areas be good for national economies, they can also boost local economies and mitigate poverty – if managed well.

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Each acre conserved provides valuable natural resources and community development opportunities, the article states. Communities surrounding national parks typically benefit from economic perks of tourism, increased infrastructure, and ecosystem services when compared to similar communities further away.

The benefits of protected areas planned and developed in this way can be seen around the globe. From Thailand to Costa Rica, and from the Czech Republic to Chile where Half-Earth Project partner Tompkins Conservation is doing incredible work, nations that have invested in their natural biological heritage have been rewarded with many tangible economic gains.

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Half-Earth Project partner Gorongosa Restoration Project in Mozambique is a living example of the multitude of benefits provided by well planned and managed protected areas. Sustainable development—the principle of meeting human needs while also ensuring the sustainability of the environment for future generations—sits at the heart of Gorongosa National Park’s mission. The park is a 21st century model for protected areas, showing how protecting biodiversity inside the park can economically benefit the surrounding communities with increased employment, education, and healthcare.

The Half-Earth Project has science at its core and our transcendent moral obligation to the rest of life at its heart. In collaboration with our partners like the Gorongosa Restoration Project and Tompkins Conservation, we are working to power one of the grandest conservation efforts of our time, and provide the urgently needed research, leadership and knowledge necessary to conserve half the planet for all of life.

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