National Parks and other protected areas not only provide a safe haven for biodiversity, they provide benefits to local communities and preserve some of the most beautiful places on our planet. ‘Coverage of protected areas’ is also a specific indicator in the 2010 Target of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Obtaining the data necessary to monitor trends in protected areas requires a massive effort by national authorities to compile, analyse and then distribute this data to the centralised depository of the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). With a living and growing system of protected areas that now exceed 100,000 sites covering 19 million square kilometres, you can imagine that this is no small task!
The countries affected by the 2004 Asian tsunami contain the most diverse and extensive coral reefs and mangroves of the Indian Ocean, and some of the richest in the world. Not only are these ecosystems among the most threatened in the world, they also provide numerous essential ecosystem services.
It is thus not surprising that reefs and mangroves received widespread attention after the tsunami, with three principal questions posed: Are the tsunami's impacts on reefs and mangroves a further threat to their future survival? Did reefs and mangroves play a role in shoreline protection and reduce structural damage and human mortality? How could reconstruction efforts include actions to maintain these ecosystems and reduce further threats to them?Resource Type: Journal Papers
The range of information on biodiversity currently available via the Internet is reviewed and its accessibility, usefulness and relevance to biodiversity research and to policy decision making assessed. Commercial and non-commercial databases are reviewed. The future of information via the net is also reviewed, in particular the role of the `Clearing House Mechanism' of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Biodiversity Conservation Information System.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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.
Coral reefs are the most biologically diverse of shallow water marine ecosystems but are being degraded worldwide by human activities and climate warming. Analyses of the geographic ranges of 3235 species of reef fish, corals, snails, and lobsters revealed that between 7.2 and 53.6 of each taxon have highly restricted ranges, rendering them vulnerable to extinction. Restricted-range species are clustered into centers of endemism, like those described for terrestrial taxa. The 10 richest centers of endemism cover 15.8 of the world's coral reefs (0.012 of the oceans) but include between 44.8 and 54.2 of the restricted-range species. Many occur in regions where reefs are being severely affected by people, potentially leading to numerous extinctions. Threatened centers of endemism are major biodiversity hotspots, and conservation efforts targeted toward them could help avert the loss of tropical reef biodiversity.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
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
This paper reviews the current global extent of protected areas in terms of geopolitical and habitat coverage, and considers their value as a global indicator of conservation action or response. The paper discusses the role of the World Database on Protected Areas and collection and quality control issues, and identifies areas for improvement, including how conservation effectiveness indicators may be included in the database to improve the value of protected areas data as an indicator for meeting global biodiversity targets.Resource Type: Journal Papers
The threat posed to coral reefs by biological invasion is unlikely to diminish and should therefore be considered in analyses of the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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
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