Global protected‐area coverage and human pressure on tidal flats

Hill, Narelle K., Woodworth, Bradley K., Phinn, Stuart R., Murray, Nicholas J., and Fuller, Richard A. (2021) Global protected‐area coverage and human pressure on tidal flats. Conservation Biology, 35 (3). pp. 933-943.

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Tidal flats are a globally distributed coastal ecosystem important for supporting biodiversity and ecosystem services. Local to continental‐scale studies have documented rapid loss of tidal habitat driven by human impacts, but assessments of progress in their conservation are lacking. We analysed human pressure on tidal flats, and measured their representation in protected areas using a newly developed, internally‐consistent estimate of distribution and change for the world's tidal flats. We discovered that 68% of the current extent of tidal flats is subject to moderate to very high human pressure (Human Modification Index > 0.1), but that 31% of tidal flat extent occurred within protected areas, far exceeding percent protection of the marine (6%) and terrestrial (13%) realms. Net change of tidal flat extent inside protected areas was similar to tidal flat net change outside protected areas between 1999 and 2016. Substantial shortfalls in tidal flat protection occurred across Asia, where large intertidal extents coincide with high to very high human pressure (Human Modification Index > 0.4‐1), and net tidal flat losses up to 86.4 km² (83.9 km²‐89.0 km²; 95% confidence interval) occurred inside individual protected area boundaries within the study period. Taken together, our results show substantial progress in protected area designation for tidal flats globally, but that protected area status alone does not prevent all habitat loss. Safeguarding the world's tidal flats will thus require deeper understanding of the factors that govern their dynamics and effective policy that promotes holistic coastal and catchment management strategies.

Item ID: 65389
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1523-1739
Keywords: Aichi biodiversity target 11, Coastal management, Habitat loss, Human footprint, Protected area coverage, Spatial bias
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Authors. Conservation Biology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Conservation Biology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Funders: Queensland Wader Study Group (QWSG), Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: QWSG Nigel Roberts Student Research Fund, ARC Linkage grant LP150101059, ARC DECRA grant number: DE190100101
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2020 04:51
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
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