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.
The Great Apes, including the chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan, are threatened with extinction. All species are rapidly declining in abundance, even within protected areas.The main factors responsible for this decline are loss and degradation of habitat, and hunting. Construction of roads in forest areas is particularly damaging, as such development facilitates hunting and other activities which lead to habitat destruction.
This report assesses the impact of infrastructural development on great ape populations, using the GLOBIO modelling approach. GLOBIO is a multivariable spatial model, which estimates the extent of land area with reduced abundance and diversity of living organisms, as a result of infrastructural development. The model can also be used to develop scenarios of possible future impacts, based on the current rates of infrastructural development.Resource Type: Reports
UNEP-WCMC, with the financial support of the UN-REDD programme, wrote a paper on biodiversity monitoring for REDD+ published in the journal "Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability" as part of ongoing work on REDD+ safeguards. The paper observes the following three challenge to biodiversity monitoring for REDD: choosing which aspects of biodiversity to monitor, the difficulty of attributing particular changes to REDD+ and the likely scarcity of resources for biodiversity monitoring. It proposes three responses which may address these challenges: 1) agreed policy targets that identify what should be monitored; 2) making links to existing biodiversity monitoring and to monitoring to estimate GHG emissions and removals; and 3) developing clear theories of change to assist in determining which changes in biodiversity can be attributed to REDD+. The paper is available on the journal website here.Resource Type: Tools / Applications
The Last Stand of the Orangutan was prepared by a Rapid Response Team at UNEP/GRID-Arendal and UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre as a broad collaborative effort, involving contributors from the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Forestry, Indonesia, and partners of the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP).Resource Type: Reports
How may we improve the quality, accessibility and usefulness of data about the living world? Three examples present themselves: use of new technology to build capacity for biodiversity knowledge management in the developing world; engagement of new sources of data; and harmonization of official data deriving from inter-governmental biodiversity-related treaties.Resource Type: Journal Papers
We briefly review recent global trends in habitat area in as many broadly-defined natural habitats as possible, and in indices of animal populations characteristic of those habitats. The information available indicates continuing declines in habitat area and species, but those data are extremely sparse.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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 number of environmental variables used during modelling could affect the outcome, but we found no correlation between these and our estimates of extinction risk in global samples. Although further investigation is needed, it is unlikely to result in substantially reduced estimates of extinction. Anthropogenic climate change seems set to generate very large numbers of species-level extinctions.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Datasets Available from UNEP-WCMC: Excluding WDPA
Access to UNEP-WCMC datasets is provided on the understanding that you read and consent to be bound by the Terms and Conditions attached. For the purposes of this Agreement the “Data” comprise any of the spatial data and associated attribute data downloadable from the UNEP-WCMC website, excluding the World Database on Protected Areas.
To provide a global context for a discussion of mountain forests, it is first necessary to define the locations and types of mountain forests, and this in turn requires a definition of mountains or mountain areas. Altitude and slope and the environmental gradients they generate are key components of such a definition, but their combination is problematic. Simple altitude thresholds both exclude older and lower mountain systems and include areas of relatively high elevation that have little topographic relief and few environmental gradients. Using slope as a criterion on its own or in combination with altitude can resolve the latter problem, but not the former. The mountains dataset shows the location of mountain land estimated from a digital elevation model using criteria based on elevation alone (the upper three classes: > 2 500 metres) and at lower elevation, on a combination of elevation, slope and local elevation range. This is an update of the Mountain's of the World 2000 and was produced for the UNEP-WCMC publication Mountain Watch, 2002.
The mountains dataset has been overlayed with a global data set on percent tree cover taken from MODIS 1-km resolution percent tree cover data, courtesy of University of Maryland Global Land Cover Facility. Species richness, density and forest height tend to reduce with increasing altitude; the boundary between forest vegetation and more open ground cover at higher elevation 'the treeline' is an ecological marker signifying the transition to more extreme climatic conditions.Resource Type: Spatial Data / Maps
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