The extent and effectiveness of protected areas in the UK

Starnes, T., Beresford, A.E., Buchanan, G.M., Lewis, M. ORCID:, Hughes, A., & Gregory, R.D. (2021). The extent and effectiveness of protected areas in the UK. Global Ecology and Conservation 30 e01745. 10.1016/j.gecco.2021.e01745.

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The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which 196 countries including the UK are contracting parties, set out 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets to be met by 2020. Elements of Aichi Target 11 call for at least 17% of terrestrial land and inland water to be protected and effectively managed by 2020. Each national government is requested to report progress against this goal in national reports submitted at intervals to the CBD, and these are used as the basis of reporting towards the 17% target. Figures reported for the UK’s protected area coverage are inclusive of a wide range of levels of designation, management and condition. Here, we examine the protection given to sites under UK legislation and designations as a case study. We find that although 28% of UK land is reported by the UK government to be protected, only 11.4% of land area falls within protected areas designated primarily for nature conservation. Condition monitoring indicates that at most 43–51% of protected areas in the UK are currently in favourable condition, which suggests as little as 4.9% of UK land area may be effectively protected for nature. However, estimates of protected area coverage vary greatly depending on the types of protected areas considered ‘effectively protected’ as measured by management category and site condition. Taking the UK as an example of a country that has reportedly met the target, we suggest that global progress may have been overestimated, and that future targets and indicators need to focus on the quality as well as quantity of protected areas.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Protected area; Aichi Target 11; Common standards monitoring; Protected area management effectiveness
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Biodiversity, Ecology, and Conservation (BEC)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2021 09:48
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2022 14:03

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