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SCIENTISTS NETWORK TO HELP PARKS MANAGE CLIMATE CHANGE
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<-- Return To National Park Issues

Source: ENS

SCIENTISTS NETWORK TO HELP PARKS MANAGE CLIMATE CHANGE

WASHINGTON, DC, March 28, 2001 (ENS) - Leading conservation organizations have formed an international network to help the world's protected areas managers to anticipate and cope with global changes brought about by climate change, poverty and population growth.

"This network is especially crucial in light of the increasing deterioration of the world's ecosystems," said Dr. Kenton Miller, chairman of the World Commission on Protected Areas and vice president for international conservation of the World Resources Institute (WRI). "Global warming is a big contributor to this, and is weakening the capacity of the world's parks and protected areas to supply critical services like drinking water and habitats for wildlife."

There are an estimated 44,000 parks and protected areas, covering about 10 percent of the world's land surface. About 42 percent of these parks and protected areas are found in developing countries.

Already, sea level rise, severe weather changes, expanded farmlands, poverty and increased regional conflicts are affecting many of these parks.

The network, called Protected Areas Learning Network (PALN), is a project of WRI, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Conservation International, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The governments of the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have already contributed funds. A grant from the UN Global Environment Facility is being finalized. The network is expected to cost $5 million over four years.

"No program exists today to provide park managers in developing countries with timely and easily accessible information on the relationship between global changes and their protected areas," said Dr. Mohamed Bakarr of the Center for Applied Science at Conservation International. "PALN will help them learn how other park managers and scientists are coping and adapting to these changes."

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