New residential areas, new recreational areas, shopping centers, industrial centers … It seems that currently there is a need to build, gaining space from nature. Will there come a day when it will be difficult for us to find virgin areas? Eliminating these areas in turn suppresses all the biodiversity they harbor. Are we aware of all that this entails? Where is the limit? Well, to try to contain the transformation of the natural environment there are certain areas, called protected areas or protected natural spaces. At AgroCorrn we are aware of the great relevance of these natural sites and we want to share it with you in this article about the importance of nature reserves and protected areas .
- What are protected natural areas?
- Protected areas: nature reserves
- The importance of protected areas
What are protected natural areas?
Due to the current deterioration of the planet that has been taking place for a few decades and the loss of natural spaces in which man should not influence, in 1992 the need to establish a system of protected natural spaces (ENP) or protected areas was determined. through the Rio de Janeiro Convention. In this document, what should be considered a protected area was defined:
According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), protected areas are those areas that are geographically defined, designated and managed for the purpose of achieving specific conservation objectives .
The IUCN, the acronym for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, provides another complementary and slightly more specific definition in which it stipulates that protected areas are an area, either land, sea or both, that is dedicated to the maintenance and protection of biodiversity and other cultural or natural resources. This protection is done through judicial means or in any other effective way.
Law 42/2007 of December 13 on Natural Heritage and Biodiversity regulates by Article 27 of Protected Natural Space that those spaces that , among other factors, will be considered as such :
- Contain elements or natural ecosystems that, due to their uniqueness, rarity, threatened situation or interest of various types (ecological, scientific, landscape, geological or educational).
- They are intended for the protection of biodiversity and its maintenance, as well as the geodiversity and natural and cultural resources associated with them.
Due to their great importance, these protected areas are governed under specific protection, restoration and conservation guidelines, since they are key elements to maintain spaces that protect biodiversity.
By article 29, which delves into the classification of ENP, it is established that, depending on the values and assets that must be protected and the objective to be met, these protected areas, whether terrestrial or marine, will be found , in any of the following categories :
- Natural parks.
- Natural reserves.
- Marine Protected Areas.
- Natural monuments.
- Protected Landscapes.
Protected areas: nature reserves
Nature reserves are a specific type of protected area whose objective is the protection of wildlife (flora and / or fauna), ecosystems or spaces with ecological features of special interest and that, therefore, deserve special consideration.
Natural reserves are managed by man for their protection against damage that may occur in them, as well as to avoid environmental degradation . All of this seeks to guarantee a good conservation of the area, as well as to offer research and educational opportunities .
The designation of these zones is governed by several principles:
- The natural beauty of the area proposed as a protected area.
- The scientific and educational interest of the region.
- The preservation of natural areas that make up the habitat of protected or threatened species
- That the region be considered cultural heritage.
There are two types of natural reserves depending on whether or not the exploitation of their resources is allowed:
- Comprehensive, where, except in exceptional cases in which the Administration responsible for the area authorizes it, the exploitation of resources is prohibited. It can be authorized in cases where educational, research or conservation reasons are presented.
- Partial. In them, the exploitation of resources is allowed, as long as it does not hinder or prevent the conservation of the elements to be protected and conserved.
The importance of protected areas
The importance of protected natural spaces is recognized in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and resides in the main objective pursued by all of them: the care and protection of natural biodiversity in the face of the deterioration of these natural spaces or monuments, as well as how to prevent resources from being exploited excessively.
There is also another very important reason that adds to the value of these areas, and that is that it is also related to climate change. It is estimated that the global network of these spaces or protected areas captures at least 15% of the planet’s carbon .
These areas also have fundamental functions that are reported in benefits for the planet (environmental functions), since they host a great biological wealth, but also in economic benefits for the human being, among which the supply of food, raw materials and other stand out. natural resources.
In summary, protected areas are spaces of great importance for the natural environment , also performing important functions such as:
- Care and protection of biodiversity.
- Regulate the activity and the impact of the human being in natural spaces for their preservation or restoration.
- Capture excess atmospheric CO2.
- Climate regulation.
- Conservation of water reserves.
- Maintenance of soil fertility.
- Source of food and raw materials.
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