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Are protected areas really safe from invasive alien species?

Protected areas worldwide are effectively keeping invasive animals away, but most of them are at risk of invasions, says the new study from the Chinese Academy of Science. Researchers assessed almost 200,000 protected areas worldwide and only 10% of them were found to host any of the 894 terrestrial animal invasive species surveyed. However, almost all these areas are at risk – invasive species were found within 100km of the boundaries of 99% of them.

Protected areas are vital for biodiversity conservation. However, invasive alien species may become an increasing threat to these areas in the near future, according to the study. The potential application of gene drive for conservation purposes is one of the avenues to explore to help protect native ecosystems and species from extinction.

The publication is available at the journal Nature Communications.

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