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Scaling up from protected areas in England: The value of establishing large conservation areas

Shwartz, Assaf, Davies, Zoe G., Macgregor, Nicholas A., Crick, Humphrey Q.P., Clarke, Donna, Eigenbrod, Felix, Gonner, Catherine, Hill, Chris T., Knight, Andrew T., Metcalfe, Kristian, and others. (2017) Scaling up from protected areas in England: The value of establishing large conservation areas. Biological Conservation, 212 (Part A). pp. 279-287. ISSN 0006-3207. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2017.06.016) (KAR id:62228)


Protected areas (PAs) are vital for conserving biodiversity, but many PA networks consist of fragmented habitat patches that poorly represent species and ecosystems. One possible solution is to create conservation landscapes that surround and link these PAs. This often involves working with a range of landowners and agencies to develop large-scale conservation initiatives (LSCIs). These initiatives are being championed by both government and civil society, but we lack data on whether such landscape-level approaches overcome the limitations of more traditional PA networks. Here we expand on a previous gap analysis of England to explore to what extent LSCIs improve the representation of different ecoregions, land-cover types and elevation zones compared to the current PA system. Our results show the traditional PA system covers 6.37% of England, an addition of only 0.07% since 2001, and that it is an ecologically unrepresentative network that mostly protects agriculturally unproductive land. Including LSCIs in the analysis increases the land for conservation more than tenfold and reduces these representation biases. However, only 24% of land within LSCIs is currently under conservation management, mostly funded through agri-environment schemes, and limited monitoring data mean that their contribution to conservation objectives is unclear. There is also a considerable spatial overlap between LSCIs, which are managed by different organisations with different conservation objectives. Our analysis is the first to show how Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) can increase the representativeness of conservation area networks, and highlights opportunities for increased collaboration between conservation organisations and engagement with landowners.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.06.016
Uncontrolled keywords: Gap analysis; Biodiversity; Agri-environment schemes; Conservation planning
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Bob Smith
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2017 15:00 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 01:10 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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