QLF has helped bring out a special issue of the journal PARKS. This is a unique assembly of knowledge at a unique moment in time. The lessons drawn here about the relationship between COVID-19 and the natural world should be quickly learned and acted upon. The year 2021 represents a narrow window for change.

Co-edited by Brent Mitchell and Adrian Phillips, with 150 contributors, the 200-page issue comprises 11 peer reviewed papers and 14 essays. It examines the causes, consequences and implications of this global pandemic from the perspective of protected and conserved areas. It makes the case that expanded, effective systems of protected areas are needed to avoid future calamities.

These are the overarching messages we extract from the information gathered here:
set against the billions of dollars that has been spent on dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, and the trillions more that will be spent to get economies moving again, the cost of securing the natural world through an effective system of protected and conserved areas is but a small fraction of that expenditure; if the same amount of effort that has been put — with magnificent success and in record time — into the development of vaccines to combat the disease, were to be applied to dealing with the root causes of zoonotic pandemics, we could drastically reduce the threat of future events of this kind; and if the shock of COVID-19 is not enough to make humanity wake up to the suicidal consequences of the destructive course of much misguided development, then it is hard to see how further calamities — far worse than the current pandemic — can be avoided.

Start with the editors’ introduction for an executive summary, then dive into the scientific papers for details and the essays for insights from a range of leaders worldwide. The volume will be used at a series of international meetings to decide how to stabilize our climate, save biodiversity, secure human health and revive the global economy. Through all these events should run this golden thread: learn the lessons of COVID-19 by protecting nature and restoring damaged ecosystems.

PARKS The International Journal of Protected Areas and Conservation is a publication of IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas. QLF manages a WCPA specialist group on privately protected areas and nature stewardship and is a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.CH.2021PARKS-27SI.en

Brent A. Mitchell
Chair, IUCN-WCPA Specialist Group on Privately Protected Areas and Nature Stewardship
Senior Vice President, QLF Atlantic Center for the Environment
Partner, Stewardship Institute, (US) National Park Service
4 South Main Street, Ipswich, MA 01938 USA
http://oldtownhill.org  @brentamitchell



Editor, with Adrian Phillips, Special Issue on COVID-19
PARKS: The International Journal of Protected Areas and Conservation

“Step out of the shade aflame and unafraid.” – Amanda Gorman, US National
Youth Poet Laureate