Special Issue "Biodiversity and Protected Areas"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Karen Beazley

School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, 6100 University Ave., P.O. Box 15000, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4R2, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biodiversity conservation; protected area system design; conservation biology; landscape ecology; road ecology; indigenous perspectives; environmental justice
Guest Editor
Prof. Robert Baldwin

Forestry and Environmental Conservation Department, 261 Lehotsky Hall, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: biodiversity; landscape-scale conservation planning; wetland landscapes; habitat connectivity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

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 uses can conflict with biodiversity conservation. Protected area legal status is in many cases impermanent. Protected areas are generally too small, isolated and few to conserve biodiversity on their own, and thus there are calls for connected conservation areas between them, and for their integration into broader landscapes and seascapes [1]. There is general consensus that the current global suite of protected areas is insufficient to protect biodiversity. Although there is no precise prescription for how much is enough, systematic conservation planning studies have indicated that 25–75% of a region is required to capture key elements of biodiversity [2]. Studies that address range shifts and movement pathways in response to climate change reveal even more extensive area and connectivity requirements. These and other insights have contributed to recent calls for ‘half Earth’ [3]. There is increasing recognition that not all of the area required to maintain biodiversity is likely to be accommodated within protected areas. Other effective area-based measures, connectivity, and management of private lands offer potential complements to protected areas, but may also compete for scarce resources. Increased focus on framing biodiversity and protected area values in terms of ecosystem services and human well-being may not always lead to biodiversity conservation, particularly if narrowly focused on goods and services. There is increasing acknowledgement of the imperative to engage Indigenous communities and recognize their rights to self-governance, territorial lands and resources, including biodiversity and protected areas. These and other emergent issues demand transformed approaches to biodiversity and protected areas, which engage diverse communities and boundary spanning collaborations, and may require new conceptual framings. 

This Special Issue seeks to assemble papers that explore these and other emerging issues around biodiversity and protected areas. We are seeking papers that examine approaches that show promise or demonstrate success as potential new models and applications that support progress on biodiversity conservation and protected areas in an increasingly challenging and complex context. Papers will be considered from all regions of the world. Our ultimate goal is to identify new ways of moving forward in a context of increasing urgency.

  1. United Nations. Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 including Aichi Biodiversity Targets. 2010. Available online: https://www.cbd.int/sp/.
  2. Noss, R.F.; Cooperrider, A. Saving Nature's Legacy: Protecting and Restoring Biodiversity; Island Press: Washington, DC, USA, 1994.
  3. Wilson, E.O. Half Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life; WW Norton & Company: New York, NY, USA, 2016.
Prof. Karen Beazley
Prof. Robert Baldwin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biodiversity conservation
  • systematic conservation planning
  • protected areas
  • connectivity conservation
  • climate change
  • ecosystem services
  • Indigenous community conservation areas

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Open AccessArticle Assessing Local Indigenous Knowledge and Information Sources on Biodiversity, Conservation and Protected Area Management at Khuvsgol Lake National Park, Mongolia
Received: 4 September 2018 / Revised: 9 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Abstract
Indigenous knowledge about biodiversity and conservation is valuable and can be used to sustainably manage protected areas; however, indigenous communities continue to be marginalized due to the belief that their values and behaviors do not align with the overarching mission of conservation. This
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Indigenous knowledge about biodiversity and conservation is valuable and can be used to sustainably manage protected areas; however, indigenous communities continue to be marginalized due to the belief that their values and behaviors do not align with the overarching mission of conservation. This paper explores the extent of local knowledge and awareness of biodiversity, conservation and protected area management of indigenous communities at Khuvsgol Lake National Park, Mongolia. We investigate current levels of biodiversity awareness and explore perceptions toward conservation values and park management governance. Most respondents had a high awareness of existing biodiversity and held positive attitudes toward nature conservation and protected areas; however, insufficient knowledge of park rules and low levels of trust between local residents and park authorities may undermine conservation objectives in the long run. We identify an unequal share of economic benefits from tourism and preferential treatment toward elite business owners as a source of conflict. Limited information channels and poor communication between local residents and park authorities are also a source for low-level participation in conservation activities. Leveraging the increasing use of information communication technology, such as mobile phones, can serve as a new mechanism for improved information sharing and transparent reporting between local communities, conservationists and protected area authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Setting and Implementing Standards for Management of Wild Tigers
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 25 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 July 2018 / Published: 31 July 2018
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Abstract
Tiger numbers have collapsed so dramatically that conservationists are adopting a strategy of securing populations in priority conservation landscapes. This includes improving management effectiveness in these sites. The Conservation Assured|Tiger Standards (CA|TS) are designed to help ensure effectiveness and provide a benchmark against
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Tiger numbers have collapsed so dramatically that conservationists are adopting a strategy of securing populations in priority conservation landscapes. This includes improving management effectiveness in these sites. The Conservation Assured|Tiger Standards (CA|TS) are designed to help ensure effectiveness and provide a benchmark against which to measure progress. CA|TS is a distillation of best practice and a roadmap to management effectiveness, linking management to expert-driven standards covering all aspects of management, including those which are tiger-specific (monitoring, maintenance of prey, control of poaching). Sites are audited against a set of standards and if met, are accredited as CA|TS Approved. We describe CA|TS in the context of tiger conservation, describe the evolution and philosophy of the system and consider its application across the tiger range, before drawing on lessons learned from 5 years of development. Important benefits include the independence of CA|TS from existing governmental or NGO institutions, the emphasis on regional governance and the existence of active support groups. Conversely, the participatory approach has slowed implementation. CA|TS remains more attractive to well managed sites than to sites that are struggling, although building capacity in the latter is its key aim. The close connections between people working on tiger conservation make some aspects of independent assessment challenging. Finally, if CA|TS is to succeed in its long term aims, it needs to go hand in hand with secure and adequate funding to increase management capacity in many tiger conservation areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Tropical Protected Areas Under Increasing Threats from Climate Change and Deforestation
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 24 July 2018 / Accepted: 25 July 2018 / Published: 28 July 2018
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Abstract
Identifying protected areas most susceptible to climate change and deforestation represents critical information for determining conservation investments. Development of effective landscape interventions is required to ensure the preservation and protection of these areas essential to ecosystem service provision, provide high biodiversity value, and
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Identifying protected areas most susceptible to climate change and deforestation represents critical information for determining conservation investments. Development of effective landscape interventions is required to ensure the preservation and protection of these areas essential to ecosystem service provision, provide high biodiversity value, and serve a critical habitat connectivity role. We identified vulnerable protected areas in the humid tropical forest biome using climate metrics for 2050 and future deforestation risk for 2024 modeled from historical deforestation and global drivers of deforestation. Results show distinct continental and regional patterns of combined threats to protected areas. Eleven Mha (2%) of global humid tropical protected area was exposed to the highest combined threats and should be prioritized for investments in landscape interventions focused on adaptation to climate stressors. Global tropical protected area exposed to the lowest deforestation risk but highest climate risks totaled 135 Mha (26%). Thirty-five percent of South America’s protected area fell into this risk category and should be prioritized for increasing protected area size and connectivity to facilitate species movement. Global humid tropical protected area exposed to a combination of the lowest deforestation and lowest climate risks totaled 89 Mha (17%), and were disproportionately located in Africa (34%) and Asia (17%), indicating opportunities for low-risk conservation investments for improved connectivity to these potential climate refugia. This type of biome-scale, protected area analysis, combining both climate change and deforestation threats, is critical to informing policies and landscape interventions to maximize investments for environmental conservation and increase ecosystem resilience to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessCommunication Proposed Release of Wilderness Study Areas in Montana (USA) Would Demote the Conservation Status of Nationally-Valuable Wildlands
Received: 23 April 2018 / Revised: 19 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
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Abstract
Wildlands are increasingly lost to human development. Conservation scientists repeatedly call for protecting the remaining wildlands and expanding the land area protected in reserves. Despite these calls, conservation reserves can be eliminated through legislation that demotes their conservation status. For example, legislation introduced
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Wildlands are increasingly lost to human development. Conservation scientists repeatedly call for protecting the remaining wildlands and expanding the land area protected in reserves. Despite these calls, conservation reserves can be eliminated through legislation that demotes their conservation status. For example, legislation introduced to the Congress of the United States recently would demote 29 Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) from the protections afforded by their existing status. The proposed legislation suggests that the 29 areas are not suitable for a promotion and future inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System based on decades-old local evaluations. Local evaluations, notwithstanding, it may be important to consider the value of lands from a national perspective. Without a national perspective, local evaluations alone may lead to overlooking the national significance of lands. With this in mind, I used five qualities of wildland value (wildness, intactness of night sky, lack of human-generated noises, intactness of mammals, and intactness of mammal carnivores of conservation concern) to compare the 29 WSAs to all national parks and wilderness areas located within the contiguous United States. The pool of 29 WSAs was similar to the pool of national parks and wilderness areas with respect to the five qualities assessed, and some of the WSAs were characterized by higher values than most of national parks and wilderness areas. This analysis demonstrates the national significance of the WSAs targeted for demotion of their existing conservation status. Such an approach could be used in future land management legislation and planning to ensure that a national perspective on conservation value is brought to bear on decisions facing federally-managed lands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Post-War Land Cover Changes and Fragmentation in Halgurd Sakran National Park (HSNP), Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 12 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 19 March 2018
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Abstract
Context: The fundamental driving force of land use and land cover (LULC) change is related to spatial and temporal processes caused by human activities such as agricultural expansion and demographic change. Landscape metrics were used to analyze post-war changes in a rural mountain
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Context: The fundamental driving force of land use and land cover (LULC) change is related to spatial and temporal processes caused by human activities such as agricultural expansion and demographic change. Landscape metrics were used to analyze post-war changes in a rural mountain landscape, the protected area of Halgurd-Sakran National Park (HSNP) in north-east Iraq. Therefore, the present work attempts to identify the temporal trends of the most fragmented land cover types between two parts of the national park. Objectives: The objectives of this study are to compare two land cover classification algorithms, maximum likelihood classification (MLC) and random forest (RF) in the upper and lower parts of HSCZ, and to examine whether landscape configuration in the park has changed over time by comparing the fragmentation, connectivity and diversity of LULC classes. Methods: Two Landsat images were used to analyze LULC fragmentation and loss of habitat connectivity (before and after the Fall of Baghdad in 2003). Seven landscape pattern metrics, percentage of land (PLAND), number of patch (NP), largest patch index (LPI), mean patch size (MPS), euclidian nearest neighborhood distance (ENN_AM), interspersion and juxtaposition (IJI) and cohesion at class level were selected to assess landscape composition and configuration. Results: A significant change in LULC classes was noticed in the lower part of the park, especially for pasture, cultivated and forest-lands. The fragmentation trends and their changes were observed in both parts of the park, however, more were observed in the lower part. The inherent causes of these changes are the socio-economic factors created by the 1991–2003 UN post-war economic sanctions. The changes increased during sanctions and decreased afterwards. The fall of Baghdad in 2003, followed by rapid economic boom, marked the greatest cause in land use change, especially in changes-susceptible cultivated areas. Conclusions: Shrinkage of forest patches in the lower part of the park increases the distance between them, which contributes to a decline in biological diversity from decreasing habitat area. Lastly, the results confirm the applicability of the combined method of remote sensing and landscape metrics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessPerspective Fairness and Transparency Are Required for the Inclusion of Privately Protected Areas in Publicly Accessible Conservation Databases
Received: 7 July 2018 / Revised: 8 August 2018 / Accepted: 11 August 2018 / Published: 13 August 2018
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Abstract
There is a growing recognition of the contribution that privately-owned land makes to conservation efforts, and governments are increasingly counting privately protected areas (PPAs) towards their international conservation commitments. The public availability of spatial data on countries’ conservation estates is important for broad-scale
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There is a growing recognition of the contribution that privately-owned land makes to conservation efforts, and governments are increasingly counting privately protected areas (PPAs) towards their international conservation commitments. The public availability of spatial data on countries’ conservation estates is important for broad-scale conservation planning and monitoring and for evaluating progress towards targets. Yet there has been limited consideration of how PPA data is reported to national and international protected area databases, particularly whether such reporting is transparent and fair (i.e., equitable) to the landholders involved. Here we consider PPA reporting procedures from three countries with high numbers of PPAs—Australia, South Africa, and the United States—illustrating the diversity within and between countries regarding what data is reported and the transparency with which it is reported. Noting a potential tension between landholder preferences for privacy and security of their property information and the benefit of sharing this information for broader conservation efforts, we identify the need to consider equity in PPA reporting processes. Unpacking potential considerations and tensions into distributional, procedural, and recognitional dimensions of equity, we propose a series of broad principles to foster transparent and fair reporting. Our approach for navigating the complexity and context-dependency of equity considerations will help strengthen PPA reporting and facilitate the transparent integration of PPAs into broader conservation efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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