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Coad L.,University of Oxford | Coad L.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Leverington F.,University of Queensland | Knights K.,Protected Area Solutions | And 12 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2015

Protected areas (PAs) are at the forefront of conservation efforts, and yet despite considerable progress towards the global target of having 17% of the world’s land area within protected areas by 2020, biodiversity continues to decline. The discrepancy between increasing PA coverage and negative biodiversity trends has resulted in renewed efforts to enhance PA effectiveness. The global conservation community has conducted thousands of assessments of protected area management effectiveness (PAME), and interest in the use of these data to helpmeasure the conservation impact of PAmanagement interventions is high. Here, we summarize the status of PAME assessment, review the published evidence for a link between PAMEassessment results and the conservation impacts of PAs, and discuss the limitations and future use of PAME data in measuring the impact of PAmanagement interventions on conservation outcomes.We conclude that PAME data,while designed as a tool for local adaptivemanagement, may also help to provide insights into the impact of PA management interventions from the local-to-global scale. However, the subjective and ordinal characteristics of the data present significant limitations for their application in rigorous scientific impact evaluations, a problem that should be recognized and mitigated where possible. © 2015 The Authors.

Geldmann J.,Copenhagen University | Coad L.,University of Oxford | Coad L.,United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Center | Barnes M.,University of Queensland | And 10 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2015

Protected area coverage has reached over 15% of the global land area. However, the quality of management of the vast majority of reserves remains unknown, and many are suspected to be "paper parks". Moreover, the degree to which management can be enhanced through targeted conservation projects remains broadly speculative. Proven links between improved reserve management and the delivery of conservation outcomes are even more elusive. In this paper we present results on how management effectiveness scores change in protected areas receiving conservation investment, using a globally expanded database of protected area management effectiveness, focusing on the "management effectiveness tracking tool" (METT). Of 1934 protected areas with METT data, 722 sites have at least two assessments. Mean METT scores increased in 69.5% of sites while 25.1% experienced decreases and 5.4% experienced no change over project periods (median 4. years). Low initial METT scores and longer implementation time were both found to positively correlate with larger increases in management effectiveness. Performance metrics related to planning and context as well as monitoring and enforcement systems increased the most while protected area outcomes showed least improvement. Using a general linear mixed model we tested the correlation between change in METT scores and matrices of 1) landscape and protected area properties (i.e. topography and size), 2) human threats (i.e. road and human population density), and 3) socio-economics (i.e. infant mortality rate). Protected areas under greater threat and larger protected areas showed greatest improvements in METT. Our results suggest that when funding and resources are targeted at protected areas under greater threat they have a greater impact, potentially including slowing the loss of biodiversity. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

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