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Biodiversity and Protected Areas

Protected areas are key to biodiversity conservation. While the value of protected areas is generally undisputed, challenges remain. Many areas designated as protected were created for objectives other than biodiversity conservation, and those objectives can conflict with biodiversity conservation. Protected area legal status is, in many cases, impermanent.

COVID-19 and protected areas: Impacts, conflicts, and possible management solutions

During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, management authorities of numerous Protected Areas (PAs) had to discourage visitors from accessing them in order to reduce the virus transmission rate and protect local communities. This resulted in social–ecological impacts and added another layer of complexity to managing PAs. This paper presents the results of a survey in Snowdonia National Park capturing the views of over 700 local residents on the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions and possible scenarios and tools for managing tourist numbers.

Marine-Related Learning Networks: Shifting the Paradigm Toward Collaborative Ocean Governance

Formal and semi-formal networks are emerging as effective, collaborative, and adaptable approaches for addressing complex, rapidly evolving ocean governance issues. One such group of networks, which we refer to as marine-related learning networks, play multifaceted roles within ocean governance systems by facilitating knowledge creation, exchange, and dissemination, and by building the capacity of individuals and institutions to address problems and improve coastal and ocean governance.

Scheduling incremental actions to build a comprehensive national protected area network for Papua New Guinea

Systematic conservation planning identifies priority areas to cost-effectively meet conservation targets. Yet, these tools rarely guide wholesale declaration of reserve systems in a single time step due to financial and implementation constraints. Rather, incremental scheduling of actions to progressively build reserve networks is required. To ensure this incremental action is guided by the original plan, and thus builds a reserve network that meets all conservation targets, strategic scheduling, and iterative planning is needed.

Custodians of the globe’s blue carbon assets

Over the last decades scientists have discovered that seagrass meadows, tidal marshes, and mangroves – “blue carbon” ecosystems – are among the most intensive carbon sinks in the biosphere. By sequestering and storing significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and ocean, blue carbon ecosystems help mitigate climate change. But conversion and degradation of these ecosystems can also release billions of tons of CO2  and other greenhouse gases into the ocean and atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

PARKS The International Journal of Protected Areas and Conservation, Issue 27 Special Issue on COVID-19 MARCH 2021

This special issue of PARKS is devoted to the impact and implications of COVID-19 on the world’s protected and conserved areas. It features 11 peer reviewed papers and 14 essays that have brought together the knowledge and findings of numerous experts from all parts of the world, supported by several wide-ranging surveys. The resulting global synthesis of experience answers some key questions: why did the pandemic occur? what has it meant for protected and conserved areas, and the people that depend on them? what were the underlying reasons for the disaster we now face?

Advancing Sustainable Development and Protected Area Management with Social Media‐Based Tourism Data

Sustainable tourism involves increasingly attracting visitors while preserving the natural capital of a destination for future generations. To foster tourism while protecting sensitive environ‐ ments, coastal managers, tourism operators, and other decision‐makers benefit from information about where tourists go and which aspects of the natural and built environment draw them to particular locations. Yet this information is often lacking at management‐relevant scales and in remote places. We tested and applied methods using social media as data on tourism in The Bahamas.

eDNA metabarcoding as a biomonitoring tool for marine protected areas

Monitoring of marine protected areas (MPAs) is critical for marine ecosystem management, yet current protocols rely on SCUBA-based visual surveys that are costly and time consuming, limiting their scope and effectiveness. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding is a promising alternative for marine ecosystem monitoring, but more direct comparisons to visual surveys are needed to understand the strengths and limitations of each approach.