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The Legal Aspects of Connectivity Conservation

The Legal Aspects of Connectivity Conservation: A Concept Paper is the result of dedicated work and collaborations that began in 2011 and continued through to completion of the project at the end of 2012. The publication builds upon and complements the IUCN Guidelines on Protected Areas Legislation (Lausche 2011), which set out key elements for modern protected areas (PA) legislation. As a major project in its own right, the Guidelines were not able to analyse in depth the critical law and policy aspects of conservation initiatives outside protected areas that are needed to sustain and increase their resilience in the face of ongoing threats from development and increasing global change, including climate change. Since the 1980s, scientists and PA managers have warned that protected areas, as part of increasingly fragmented and degraded natural ecosystems, will become isolated ‘ecological islands’, less able to stem the accelerating loss of terrestrial and marine biodiversity and less able to maintain ecosystem functions, such as species migration and hydrological flows, that operate at the landscape/seascape level. The conclusion: protected areas need to be integrated into and be better ‘connected’ to their broader landscapes and seascapes if they are to survive and maintain their biodiversity values and functions over time. To do this, conservation of the physical links between protected areas and areas outside their boundaries must be a central focus. The scope of that focus must embrace the conservation of landscape/seascape connectivity, connectivity of ecological processes, species habitat and genetic evolutionary process connectivity. The supportive tools must necessarily include law.