What drives modern protected area establishment in Australia?

Hernandez, Stephanie, Benham, Claudia, Miller, Rachel L., Sheaves, Marcus, and Duce, Stephanie (2021) What drives modern protected area establishment in Australia? Conservation Science and Practice, 3 (10). e501.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (5MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1111/csp2.501


Protected areas are a fundamental mechanism for ensuring the persistence of biodiversity. The strategic policy objectives set by governments for protected area land acquisition are strong determinants of biodiversity outcomes. An examination of these objectives is necessary to determine those most influential in designing protected area networks and understand why Australia's extinction rates exceed those elsewhere despite actively establishing protected areas over the past several decades. To examine spatio-temporal trends in policy objectives for protected areas, we evaluated the strategic priorities in Federal, State, and Territory policy documents across Australia between 1992 and 2019 using thematic analysis. We classified priorities into seven themes: adequacy, Indigenous and cultural values; representation of ecosystem and species types; threatened species and their habitat; social and recreational values; unique values and avoiding threatening processes. We found that the representation of ecosystem and species types was the most prevalent theme in policy documents, and the least common theme was social and recreational values. We posit several reasons for this trend and warn that emphasizing extent, in terms of area or representativeness, may diminish the effectiveness, efficiency, and impact for biodiversity outcomes. We found that policies were generally supportive of the strategic identification of particular species or communities that would quantifiably benefit from protection (referred to as avoided loss). Risked-based approaches to the establishment of protected areas are supported by modern conservation literature to enhance the protected area network's effectiveness. To maximize limited resources, we recommend that governments continue encouraging urgency to avoid species and habitat loss in their strategic priorities. This urgency should be accompanied by clear and consistent funding for on-the-ground actions which facilitate the socio-ecological outcomes that characterize modern protected area policy.

Item ID: 72908
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2578-4854
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Authors. Conservation Science and Practice 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 License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2022 01:51
Downloads: Total: 607
Last 12 Months: 90
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page