Research suggests that most protected areas, most of the time, conserve ecosystems and wildlife better than alternative management approaches. For example, in some deforestation fronts, protected areas have helped retain forests even though forest loss is occurring right up to their borders.
However, poorly governed and under-resourced protected areas are unlikely to withstand intense deforestation pressures and not all protected areas have been effective in conserving natural ecosystems. Along with expanding the area under protection, success depends on strengthening management and building capacity.
Supporting communities to use local sustainable indigenous knowledge in managing and benefiting from forests will inculcate a sense of ownership and sustainable use of forests.
Fully protected areas free of livestock, logging and other consumptive resource use are the most critical and most effective way to stop forest loss and degradation and loss of biodiversity.
Without forests there is no freshwater! Protected areas and indigenous lands protected natural forests, freshwater resources, and innumerous species, besides extremely important for the maintenance of indigenous cultures.