Study reveals where conservation aid is most needed
5 August, 2013

A model pinpointing the countries with the least conservation funding could be applied to curb biodiversity losses at relatively little cost and help meet UN biodiversity targets, according to a study.

As developed nations — the source of more than 90 per cent  of all conservation spending — ramp up their aid for conserving biodiversity in developing nations by 2015, knowledge of where such funds are most needed may help it get there, researchers say.

It has been known that some countries’ conservation efforts are severely underfunded and therefore need to be prioritised for international support.

But previous attempts to identify them have been hampered by “poor and incomplete data on actual spending”, as well as by “uncertainty and lack of consensus over the relative size of spending gaps”, the researchers behind the model write in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, where their work was published last month (1 July).

The researchers compiled a global database of annual conservation spending, which they say is the most complete of its kind. They then created a statistical model that explains 86 per cent of the variation in global spending patterns for 2001-2008.

From this model, the team compared known spending levels with those expected by the model to highlight countries with severe underfunding.

The majority of the 40 countries they identified are in the developing world and these 40 nations contain nearly a third of the world’s most threatened mammals.

The five most underfunded are Iraq, Djibouti, Angola, Kyrgyzstan and Guyana.

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