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Dexin T, Yan X, Barnosky AD, and Fuwen W (2018) Defining the balance point between conservation and development. Conservation Biology, pp. 1-8, DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13221

Year Published: 2018

In the face of the current global ecological crisis and the threats it poses to human survival and security, the fundamental solution is to resolve the deep contradiction between conservation and economic development. We considered the 3 key and basic questions of why to protect, how much to protect, and where to protect natural areas. Human survival depends on functioning ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide. In this regard, conserving core biodiversity conservation priority areas (BCPAs) can provide maximum conservation benefit. The goals of protected area (PA) systems globally and nationally must be clearly defined so as to sustain the survival and development of people and to coordinate and balance other objectives with this goal at the center. There is an urgent need to study, calculate, and define the extent of the natural world to ensure the well‐being of people. We call this area over which natural areas of land and sea extend across the world or a country nature proportion (N%). Especially, a minimum area that ensures human survival should be protected, and we suggest that this area should cover core BCPAs so that it can achieve the maximum conservation benefit. These recommendations could be applied at global or national levels. The Chinese government proposes “developing a protected‐area system composed mainly of national parks,” and it has unified the administration of PAs into a central management authority. At this key time in the reform of the PA system, should this proposal be adopted, conservation will garner the greatest social consensus and support, and planning at the national level for BCPA coverage will be improved. We believe these recommendations are critical for China and other countries and extremely important for the world because they will pave the way toward a balance between nature conservation and human development as the projected human population reaches 10 billion by 2050. [link to publication]