PhD forsvar af Jonas Geldmann – University of Copenhagen

25. november 2013

PhD forsvar af Jonas Geldmann

Evaluating the effectiveness of protected areas for maintaining biodiversity, securing habitats, and reducing threats.

Tid: 9. december 2013 kl. 14.00

Sted: Geologisk Museum, auditorium, Øster Voldgade 5-7, 1350 København K

Institut: Biologisk Institut

Vejleder: Professor Neil D. Burgess, Statens Naturhistoriske Museum - KU

Bedømmelses komité: Professor Carsten Rahbek, Statens Naturhistoriske Museum - KU, Dr. Robert Smtih, University of Kent, United Kingdomand Dr. Antje Ahrends, Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Protected areas are amongst the most important conservation responses to halt the loss of biodiversity and cover around 13% of the terrestrial surface of the earth. Protected areas are expected to deliver on many different objectives covering biodiversity, climate change mitigation, local livelihood, and cultural & esthetic values. Within each of these categories a suite of relevant success matrices exist including; coverage, quality, and performance.

The aim of this thesis has been to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of protected area in securing biodiversity, by evaluating their ability to either improve conservation responses, the state of biodiversity, or alternatively to reduce the human pressures responsible for the loss of biodiversity. The scope has been global; using large scale databases combining information from ca. 170,000 protected areas, 5,000 population time-series, 3,000 management evaluations and global remote sensed data.

The results show that protected areas are effective compared to no protection, but also elutes to them not being a panacea. Both populations and habitats are overall decreasing while human pressure both inside and outside protected areas increases. However the results also suggest that management in protected areas do have an effect and that many protected areas have seen an improvement in management over time. A second and perhaps equally important conclusion is that strong empirically based evidence on the effectiveness of protected areas is impeded by the lack of good data to measure change compared to a counterfactual scenario.