Policy ForumConservation

Protected Areas and Effective Biodiversity Conservation

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Science  15 Nov 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6160, pp. 803-805
DOI: 10.1126/science.1239268


Although protected areas (PAs) cover 13% of Earth's land (1), substantial gaps remain in their coverage of global biodiversity (2). Thus, there has been emphasis on strategic expansion of the global PA network (35). However, because PAs are often understaffed, underfunded, and beleaguered in the face of external threats (6, 7), efforts to expand PA coverage should be complemented by appropriate management of existing PAs. Previous calls for enhancing PA management have focused on improving operational effectiveness of each PA [e.g., staffing and budgets (6)]. Little guidance has been offered on how to improve collective effectiveness for meeting global biodiversity conservation goals (3). We provide guidance for strategically allocating management efforts among and within existing PAs to strengthen their collective contribution toward preventing global species extinctions.

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