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
This study reviews the biogeographic and biodiversity coverage of the current World Heritage network and identifies broad gaps. It also identifies priority sites for biodiversity conservation that may merit World Heritage listing in the future and reviews how these could help fill the existing gaps in the network.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
This paper reviews the potential for carbon sequestration in dryland ecosystems, which includes forests, but also covers other habitats, such as grasslands, and, importantly, soils. It also considers ways in which carbon storage in drylands affects land degradation issues.Resource Type: Reports
Assuming no radical transformation in human behavior, we can expect important changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2050. A considerable number of species extinctions will have taken place. Existing large blocks of tropical forest will be much reduced and fragmented, but temperate forests and some tropical forests will be stable or increasing in area, although the latter will be biotically impoverished. Marine ecosystems will be very different from today's, with few large marine predators, and freshwater biodiversity will be severely reduced almost everywhere. These changes will not, in themselves, threaten the survival of humans as a species.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The objectives of the World Heritage Convention are the identification, protection, conservation and presentation of the world's natural and cultural heritage and ultimately, the successful transmission of them to future generations. UNEP-WCMC and IUCN have undertaken a range of global and regional studies to support State Parties to the Convention in the selection of potential sites, and to assist in the evaluation of nominations.Resource Type: Reports
Sustainability requires living within the regenerative capacity of the biosphere. In an attempt to measure the extent to which humanity satisfies this requirement, we use existing data to translate human demand on the environment into the area required for the production of food and other goods, together with the absorption of wastes. Our accounts indicate that human demand may well have exceeded the biosphere's regenerative capacity since the 1980s. According to this preliminary and exploratory assessment, humanity's load corresponded to 70% of the capacity of the global biosphere in 1961, and grew to 120% in 1999.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
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