Why do we need protected areas?

Without protected areas, it would be difficult to ensure the survival of species and communities


The task of classical nature conservation is to protect endangered species, but also to preserve the diversity of communities and habitats, to create feeding, resting, and breeding areas for wild game, birds and fish, and to protect landscapes, water, or soil. Without protected areas, it is difficult to ensure the survival of species and communities, as an increasing human population requires an increasing amount of natural resources to meet their needs. Unfortunately, the consumption of natural resources comes at the expense of other species and communities.


Merikotkas pesapuul
WHITE-TAILED EAGLE. The nesting trees of eagles are also protected as species protection sites for the species. By: Karl Adami


Despite the continued effort to take new areas under nature protection, the extinction of species continues. In addition to habitat loss and climate change, one of the reasons for the rapid extinction of species is the increasing fragmentation of habitats and insufficient interconnection [1; 2]. It has been debated whether one large protected area or many small ones is better for nature, but historical experience shows that protecting large areas is more effective than protecting many small areas. Small areas are easier to manage, but they are also more vulnerable.


However, it is more important than the size of the areas to ensure the ecological functioning of the areas and the existence of routes for different species, i.e. to connect the network of protected areas with the connecting corridors between the areas. That is why modern nature conservation has shifted from the protection of separate small areas to the protection of larger landscapes connected to each other via the so-called ecological corridors. Through such corridors, species can move between habitats and are thus more resilient to environmental change.


Nature must be protected systematically, as a whole, by protecting not only wildlife but also the inanimate nature associated with it and their interrelationships. Only in this way is it possible to ensure the long-term survival of species and their communities.



Last modified: 02.12.2021




[1] https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/docs/adaptation_fragmentation_guidelines.pdf 

[2] https://loodusveeb.ee/sites/default/files/inline-files/2019_6-28_consultation_draft_safeguardingecologicalcorridorsinthecontext._.pdf