Effectiveness of terrestrial protected areas in reducing habitat loss and population declines

Geldmann, Jonas, Barnes, Megan, Coad, Lauren, Craigie, Ian D., Hockings, Marc, and Burgess, Neil D. (2013) Effectiveness of terrestrial protected areas in reducing habitat loss and population declines. Biological Conservation, 161. pp. 230-238.

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Abstract

Protected Areas (PAs) are a critical tool for maintaining habitat integrity and species diversity, and now cover more than 12.7% of the planet's land surface area. However, there is considerable debate on the extent to which PAs deliver conservation outcomes in terms of habitat and species protection. A systematic review approach is applied to investigate the evidence from peer reviewed and grey literature on the effectiveness of PAs focusing on two outcomes: (a) habitat cover and (b) species populations. We only include studies that causally link conservation inputs to outcomes against appropriate counterfactuals. From 2599 publications we found 76 studies from 51 papers that evaluated impacts on habitat cover, and 42 studies from 35 papers on species populations. Three conclusions emerged: first, there is good evidence that PAs have conserved forest habitat; second, evidence remains inconclusive that PAs have been effective at maintaining species populations, although more positive than negative results are reported in the literature; third, causal connections between management inputs and conservation outcomes in PAs are rarely evaluated in the literature. Overall, available evidence suggests that PAs deliver positive outcomes, but there remains a limited evidence base, and weak understanding of the conditions under which PAs succeed or fail to deliver conservation outcomes.

Item ID: 28748
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: effectiveness, habitat loss, management, population trend, protected area, systematic review
ISSN: 1873-2917
Funders: Danish National Research Foundation, IUCN SSC/WCPA Joint Task-Force on Biodiversity and Protected Areas, United Nations Environment Program - World Conservation Monitoring Centre, (UNEP- WCMC), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), University of Queensland (UQ)
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2013 05:37
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 34%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 33%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 33%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 33%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 34%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960599 Ecosystem Assessment and Management not elsewhere classified @ 33%
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