Covid-19 is taking a “severe toll” on conservation efforts, with multiple environmental protections being rolled back, according to research.
Conservation efforts have been reduced in more than half of Africa’s protected areas and a quarter of those in Asia, said the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
And 22 countries are rolling back protection of natural areas.
Protected areas encompass some of the world’s most precious ecosystems.
They include pristine forests, wilderness areas and natural habitat that supports endangered species.
IUCN Director General Dr Bruno Oberle said the new research revealed “how severe a toll the Covid-19 pandemic has taken on conservation efforts and on communities dedicated to protecting nature”.
He added: “Let us not forget that only by investing in healthy nature can we provide a solid basis for our recovery from the pandemic, and avoid future public health crises.”