Larger protected areas in the tropics and sub-tropics face higher risk of downgrading

Science Codex
19 October 2015

A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and Conservation International, found that larger protected areas, especially those in high population density regions, are more likely to undergo a downgrading, downsizing and degazettement (PADDD) event.

Protected areas, like national parks and nature reserves, are areas designated or regulated to achieve specific biodiversity conservation objectives. In parts of the tropics and sub-tropics, protected areas are under pressure from forces related to high human populations and rapid land use change. PADDD is the legal process by which protected areas have their level of protection reduced, are made smaller or are removed completely.

In the study, a total of 342 PADDD events between 1900 and 2010 across 44 countries in the tropics and sub-tropics were examined. This is the first study to highlight the potential for PADDD to undermine the recommendations from systematic conservation planning. The findings of the study were published online in leading scientific journal, Global Change Biology, on 19 October 2015.

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