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.
Hotspot Ecosystem Research on the Margins of European Seas (HERMES) was one of the 40 most successful projects under the EU's 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. Following completion of the project in March 2009, The HERMES Story is published jointly by HERMES and UNEP to inform policy and decision makers from around the world about the lessons learned and the amazing new insights into deep-sea biodiversity, structure, function and dynamics discovered under HERMES. The HERMES Story highlights the need for concerted action to protect the deep sea against the increasing pressures, threats and impacts from human activities and climate change, and provides inspiration for the development of similar deep-sea research projects in other regions.Resource Type: Reports
Over the past 10 years a number of studies and consultations have been carried out to develop and refine the Global Strategy for achieving a balanced, representative and credible World Heritage List that reflects the world’s diverse heritage. This review is an important addition to that process, focusing on the inter-related elements of biogeography, habitats and biological diversity that underpin much of what we consider ‘natural heritage’.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
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
The deep sea is the oldest and largest biome on Earth, yet we have little knowledge of the ecosystems and processes in these dark, hidden depths. Only in the last two decades have new technologies enabled scientists to start exploring this last frontier – and their discoveries are fascinating but alarming: the deep sea is teeming with life but is already showing clear signs of anthropogenic impacts despite its remoteness. Many vulnerable deep-sea habitats and communities are being destroyed by fishing and are under threat from increasing exploitation of their mineral and living resources.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.
UNEP-WCMC and IUCN, with support from UNESCO, compile information sheets for all properties inscribed on the World Heritage List for natural or mixed (natural and cultural) reasons. These sheets are usually prepared following the inscription of a property on the World Heritage List. The sheets are updated from time to time. The latest available sheets are published on this webpage.Resource Type: Reports
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