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Weighing the benefits of expanding protected areas versus managing existing ones


Adams, VM and Iacona, GD and Possingham, HP, Weighing the benefits of expanding protected areas versus managing existing ones, Nature Sustainability, 2 pp. 404-411. ISSN 2398-9629 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Authors, under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41893-019-0275-5


Protected areas are a fundamental mechanism for conserving global biodiversity. Given limited conservation funds and shortfalls in funding for existing protected area management needs, a critical question is: should countries and states spend new funds on purchasing more land or managing existing protected areas to an acceptable standard? We used a non-spatial dynamic landscape model to compare the relative importance of expansion of protected areas versus improved protected area management in diverse contexts. We provide guidance on how to allocate funding across these two actions, and the order in which these actions should be prioritized. We discover that, in contrast with spending patterns, which focus on expansion rather than management, management is often the better first investment. The relative priority of expansion and management is determined by observable factors: the relative costs of the two actions and rates of degradation in protected and unprotected areas. Importantly, regardless of these factors, the final recommended action is always to split the budget across expansion and management such that there is adequate money for management. This highlights that, while our existing protected areas are an important asset, increased investment in management is essential to maximize their potential to protect biodiversity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:protected areas, expansion, management, Aichi Target 11, CBD
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Environmental policy, legislation and standards not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Adams, VM (Dr Vanessa Adams)
ID Code:132144
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Geography and Spatial Science
Deposited On:2019-04-23
Last Modified:2020-05-19

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