Landscape-scale benefits of protected areas for tropical biodiversity

At the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, Canada this past winter, nations committed to protecting 30% of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030.

The ’30 x 30′ goal relies on the creation of protected areas, but uncertainties remain about the effectiveness of these protected areas. Encouragingly, recent research led by Jedediah Brodie at the University of Montana, and contributed to by GEODE members Scott Goetz, Patrick Burns, Patrick Jantz, Chris Hakkenberg and Zaneta Kaszta suggests protected areas are associated with higher vertebrate biodiversity. Not only that, but researchers also found that large protected areas were associated with increased mammal diversity in adjacent unprotected areas, a concept called ‘spillover.’

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a) PAs such as national parks can reduce habitat loss and degradation (from logging) and extractive behaviors such as hunting (shown in red circle), but there are a wide range of real-world outcomes based on management effectiveness. b) PAs are aimed at safeguarding multiple facets of biodiversity, including species richness (SR), functional richness (FR) and phylogenetic diversity (PD). c) Wildlife communities inside PAs and in the surrounding landscape may exhibit distinct levels and types of diversity.