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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?

Tropical mammal functional diversity increases with productivity but decreases with anthropogenic disturbance

A variety of factors can affect the biodiversity of tropical mammal communities, but their relative importance and directionality remain uncertain. Previous global investigations of mammal functional diversity have relied on range maps instead of observational data to determine community composition.

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.

Mitochondrial DNA Profiling to Combat the Illegal Trade in Tortoiseshell Products

Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) are exploited for their beautiful shell known as tortoiseshell or bekko, making them extremely vulnerable in the illegal global trade of tortoiseshell products. In this study, we developed an effective, standardized method using a commercially available kit to extract DNA and obtain informative mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequences (~800 bp) from hawksbill turtle products in order to trace the sample back to a likely stock origin.

How far have we come? A review of MPA network performance indicators in reaching qualitative elements of Aichi Target 11

Effective networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) are explicitly recognized and called for in international biodiversity conservation strategies such as the Aichi Targets. While various indicators have been proposed to assess effectiveness of individual MPAs, no comprehensive set of indicators exists for MPA networks, particularly for Aichi Target 11. The qualitative elements of this target recognize the value of social, economic, governance, and ecological factors in achieving effective biodiversity conservation.

A Manager’s Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning and Design

While coral reefs become increasingly degraded, new techniques are increasingly needed to assist reefs in recovering and adapting to changing environmental conditions. The urgent motivation to sustain coral reefs has fueled a building momentum to restore and rebuild reefs, with increasing numbers of projects, research studies, and investments. Coral reef restoration is a burgeoning new field with much potential, and the authors of this Guide are excited to contribute to this global effort.

Change in Terrestrial Human Footprint Drives Continued Loss of Intact Ecosystems

Human pressure mapping is important for understanding humanity’s role in shaping Earth’s patterns and processes. We provide the latest maps of the terrestrial human footprint and provide an assessment of change in human pressure across Earth. Between 2000 and 2013, 1.9 million km2 of land relatively free of human disturbance became highly modified. Our results show that humanity’s footprint is eroding Earth’s last intact ecosystems and that greater efforts are urgently needed to retain them.

Towards the Quantification of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in the Pacific Islands Region

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a recognised global problem which undermines the integrity of responsible fisheries management arrangements and results in lost value to coastal states. Previous studies have shown that the effects of IUU fishing are often hardest felt in developing coastal states heavily reliant on fishing for income. Quantifying the nature and extent of IUU fishing is important in gauging potential losses suffered by coastal states, addressing uncertainties in stock assessments and planning effective monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) responses.

Characteristics of effective marine protected areas in Hawaiʻi

Ancient Hawaiians developed sophisticated natural resource management systems that included various forms of spatial management. The state of Hawaiʻi established its first legislated marine protected area (MPA) in 1953, and today there exists a patchwork of spatial marine management strategies along a range of sizes, with varying levels of governance, enforcement, and effectiveness. Approximately 12% of waters within the 50 m depth contour and 5% of waters within state jurisdiction (≤3 nmi) have some form of marine management.