Protecting tigers can pay off for the environment

Researchers found tiger reserves benefit forests and the climate

Conserving wildlife can have benefits far beyond the species. In a study in Nature Ecology and Evolution, researchers found that protecting tigers (Panthera tigris) in India had important climate benefits, too. Scientists looked at the impacts of designating key areas as tiger reserves, which receive additional government funding and monitoring. Those efforts help protect the tigers, but they also may result in reduced deforestation and carbon emissions. In about a third of the 45 tiger reserves they looked at, deforestation went down, protecting over 5,802 hectares of trees and over 1 million tons of carbon savings—the equivalent of taking bout 200,000 cars off the road for a year.

“Recognizing that biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation are two sides of the same coin is fundamental to deploying resources towards these important challenges,” said lead author Aakash Lamba, a researcher at the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions.

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Header Image: Tiger reserves provide greater protections for the species, but they also reduce deforestation. Credit: Bernard DUPONT