An international group of environmental scientists involving researchers from the University of Adelaide has shown that many of the world's tropical protected areas are struggling to sustain their biodiversity.
In a paper published online today in the journal Nature , ecology researchers argue that while most tropical reserves are helping to protect their forests, approximately half are struggling to maintain their biodiversity.
"Key questions are: do protected areas in fact protect their biodiversity, or are they suffering from various ills, perhaps as the environments around them are increasingly being modified?" says Professor William Laurance  from James Cook University and lead author of the paper.
Professor Corey Bradshaw , Director of Ecological Modelling at the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute  and a senior author of the paper, says a better job needs to be done to defend protected areas.
"More and more countries are trying to increase the amount of land covered by protected areas, and we always say we're not doing enough or we're not protecting enough. But if existing protected areas are often struggling to do their intended job, how can we assist them?
"We need to fight internal and external threats and structure more support for protected areas in their local environment. Such efforts will ensure protected areas are made more resilient against future threats such as climate change.
"Protected areas do not act as islands buffered from the sea of degradation surrounding them. What we do around the protected areas can have a major impact on them internally," says Professor Bradshaw.
To read more of Professor Bradshaw's comments on the paper, visit his blog: ConservationBytes.com 
To see a video of a discussion involving professors Laurance and Bradshaw about the paper, go here: http://youtu.be/6XoMG1C10DA .