Biologists view Protected Areas (PAs) as natural areas established and managed primarily for the conservation of nature. However, many early Pas were established for aesthetic or socio-economic reasons and received little scientific input to their design. More recently, scientists have identified gaps in PA networks and various contemporary PAs have been established to provide for habitats and species in need of protection.
Scientists have also modelled minimum areas and population sizes that should be protected to prevent extinctions arising from demographic or chance causes. However, these theoretical ideals are difficult to put into practice, particularly as PAs increasingly face more immediate external threats. If scientists are to influence future PA design, and if PAs are to succeed in the long term, these concepts must be applied in practice. Therefore, sufficient protection must be integrated with human needs and aspirations in the design of future protected areas.
This document provides information about the standards and data held within the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). The WDPA Data Standards specify a common set of information that data providers are asked to provide when submitting data to the WDPA. These ensure that the most vital information is collected and that the data is supplied in a common format that is globally interoperable. This document also provides detailed information on the type of information and each attribute/field within the WDPA.Resource Type: Reports
Arctic ecosystems are harsh and inhospitable, containing very low species diversity. However, although the habitats are relatively homogeneous throughout the circumpolar Arctic region, differences in species richness and areas of outstanding species richness can be recognised. Analysis of patterns in species diversity can be used to prioritise regions for conservation in the Arctic. Towards this goal, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) programme has been compiling information on the distribution and abundance of species and ecosystems in the Arctic. The work described in this report was designed to complement other ongoing projects and was included in the CAFF V work plan. It was carried out under an EU fellowship at UNEP-WCMC.Resource Type: Reports
A European Study on protected area management effectiveness assessments was carried out between May 2009 and March 2010, to provide an overview of existing studies, evaluation methods and results. This study was initiated in response to the Global Study’s insufficient coverage of the European sub-region, and as protected area governance in Europe has distinct characteristics that justified a separate analysis. The study was led by the Universities of Greifswald and Queensland, in partnership with UNEP-WCMC, EUROPARC Federation and the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN).Resource Type: Reports
The Global Study into management effectiveness evaluation was conducted between late 2005 and 2010. In cooperation with many people across the world, it aimed to strengthen the management of protected areas by compiling the existing work on management effectiveness evaluation, reviewing methodologies, finding patterns and common themes in evaluation results, and investigating the most important factors leading to effective management.Resource Type: Reports
An assessment of impacts on Arctic terrestrial ecosystems has emphasized geographical variability in responses of species and ecosystems to environmental change. This variability is usually associated with north-south gradients in climate, biodiversity, vegetation zones, and ecosystem structure and function. It is clear, however, that significant east-west variability in environment, ecosystem structure and function, environmental history, and recent climate variability is also important.Some areas have cooled while others have become warmer.
Overall, the subregional synthesis demonstrates the difficulty of generalizing projections of responses of ecosystem structure and function, species loss, and biospheric feedbacks to the climate system for the whole Arctic region and implies a need for a far greater understanding of the spatial variability in the responses of terrestrial arctic ecosystems to climate change.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The United Nations List of Protected Areas is an essential reference document for all who want to understand the progress made in responding to the challenges of biodiversity loss and other environmental threats around the world. It is a record of extraordinary human achievement over 125 years - a commitment by nations, peoples, groups and individuals to safeguard areas of land and sea from destruction. Protected areas represent human ideals at their best - they express a long term vision and a broad sense of responsibility towards people and nature.
This version of the list is the twelfth in a series, each recording steady expansion in the total area protected. There are now some 12,754 areas in the UN List, covering almost 8% of the land surface of the world (a far smaller proportion of the oceans is protected). Compared to the previous, 1993 edition of the of the UN List, this report includes 2,933 more sites covering 3.9 million more square kilometres. At the end of the century it can be said that practically every country has protected areas; some have a very sophisticated network of sites.Resource Type: Reports
The success of protected areas as a tool for conservation is based around the assumption that they are managed to protect the values that they contain. To be effective, management should be tailored to the particular demands of the site, given that each protected area has a variety of biological and social characteristics, pressures and uses. Achieving effective management is not an easy task – it requires adopting appropriate management objectives and governance systems, adequate and appropriate resourcing and the timely implementation of appropriate management strategie and processes. It is unlikely to be achieved fully without an approach to management that is inquiring an reflective – that seeks to understand how effective the current management regime is and how it could be improved. Information on management effectiveness is thus a cornerstone of good management.
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