Natural World Heritage Sites Face Threat From Humanity

Areas shown in yellow, orange and red show the amount of forest lost in natural World Heritage Sites around the globe.

More Than 100 World Heritage Sites Face Threat From Humanity

By Nick Visser | January 31, 2017

Almost half of the planet’s natural World Heritage Sites, areas designated as holding “outstanding value to humanity,” face growing threats of destruction due to human activity that has already caused lasting damage to places like Yellowstone National Park, a new report says.

The study, published Monday in the journal Biological Conservation, found more than 100 internationally protected sites around the globe are “rapidly deteriorating and are more threatened than previously thought.” Natural World Heritage Sites are selected by UNESCO for their beauty and biological importance, and include famed areas like the Congo’s Virunga National Park, the Galapagos Islands and the Everglades.

“These sites have been inscribed by the United Nations as some of the most important, beautiful places on earth,” James Watson, a professor at the University of Queensland and a senior author of the study, said in a video release. “They hold incredible numbers of species, they are the jewels of the crown when we think about nature.” …

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