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A global analysis of the drivers of human pressure within protected areas at the national level

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ARTICLE DOWNLOAD

A global analysis of the drivers of human pressure within protected areas at the national level

10$

Christos Mammides 

Abstract

Global conservation efforts rely largely on effective protected areas. Recently, it was shown that one-third of the world’s protected land is under intense human pressure. However, this proportion varies substantially across countries. Some countries are more successful than others in keeping their protected areas relatively free from intense human pressure. In this study, I explore the possible reasons behind this pattern. I find that countries with lower human population densities, lower percentage of agricultural land, and a larger area tend to have a lower proportion of their protected land under intense human pressure. These three factors alone account for approximately two-thirds of the variation in intense human pressure within protected areas. Other factors include the percentage of protected land under strict protection status (i.e., IUCN Categories I and II) and the current amount of funds invested in conservation at the national level. However, these factors are less important and account for little of the variation in human pressure. Moreover, there is no relationship between the levels of human pressure within protected areas and the countries’ economic development status and effectiveness of national governance. These findings suggest that under the current conditions—and assuming no major reforms in national conservation policies and actions—countries with high population densities and extensive areas of agricultural land are likely to struggle to keep human pressure within protected areas at low levels, irrespective of their economic development level, national governance strength, and current investments in conservation. Worse still, future projected increases in human population densities and agricultural land will likely exacerbate the human pressure within protected areas; these increases will occur mostly in developing countries—many of which are located in biodiverse regions—making conservation in those regions more difficult. To achieve their sustainability goals, countries must take actions to address the key drivers of human pressure within protected areas.

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Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s11625-020-00809-7