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To preserve biodiversity, seven Central American countries and Mexico have launched an ambitious effort to link protected areas with strips of wildlife-friendly land.

Critics worry, however, that the conservation goals are being diluted, noting that politicians have turned the original scientific concept into a catch-all for rural development projects, which they feel now overshadow conservation.

But even sceptics say the corridor will serve as a test case for saving biodiversity in other places where walling off more forest is not an option.

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Reference: Science 293, 2196 (2001)