World Conservation Monitoring Center

Cambridge, United Kingdom

World Conservation Monitoring Center

Cambridge, United Kingdom
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Baudron F.,CIMMYT Ethiopia | Giller K.E.,Wageningen University | Giller K.E.,World Conservation Monitoring Center
Biological Conservation | Year: 2014

Global demand for agricultural products is expected to double in the next decades, putting tremendous pressure on agriculture to produce more. The bulk of this increase will come from developing countries, which host most biodiversity-rich areas of the planet. Whilst most biodiversity is found in production landscapes shared with people, where agriculture represents an increasing threat, international conservation organisations continue to focus on the maintenance and expansion of the network of protected areas. When conservation organisations partner with agricultural programmes, they promote low input, extensive agriculture. Combined with the focus on protected areas, this may exacerbate rather than mitigate conflicts between biodiversity conservation and agricultural production. Two models have been proposed to increase agricultural production whilst minimising the negative consequences for biodiversity: 'land sparing' and 'land sharing'. Although often polarized in debates, both are realistic solutions, depending on the local circumstances. We propose a number of criteria that could guide the choice towards one or the other. We conclude that general principles to be considered in both land sparing and land sharing are: managing spillover effects, maintaining resilience and ecosystem services, accounting for landscape structure, reducing losses and wastes, improving access to agricultural products in developing countries and changing consumption patterns in developed countries, and developing supportive markets and policies. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Watson J.E.M.,University of Queensland | Watson J.E.M.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Dudley N.,University of Queensland | Dudley N.,Equilibrium | And 4 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2014

Originally conceived to conserve iconic landscapes and wildlife, protected areas are now expected to achieve an increasingly diverse set of conservation, social and economic objectives. The amount of land and sea designated as formally protected has markedly increased over the past century, but there is still a major shortfall in political commitments to enhance the coverage and effectiveness of protected areas. Financial support for protected areas is dwarfed by the benefits that they provide, but these returns depend on effective management. A step change involving increased recognition, funding, planning and enforcement is urgently needed if protected areas are going to fulfil their potential. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Visconti P.,Microsoft | Visconti P.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Bakkenes M.,Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | Smith R.J.,University of Kent | And 2 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2015

Several global strategies for protected area (PA) expansion have been proposed to achieve the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi target 11 as a means to stem biodiversity loss, as required by the Aichi target 12. However, habitat loss outside PAs will continue to affect habitats and species, and PAs may displace human activities into areas that might be even more important for species persistence. Here we measure the expected contribution of PA expansion strategies to Aichi target 12 by estimating the extent of suitable habitat available for all terrestrial mammals, with and without additional protection (the latter giving the counterfactual outcome), under different socio-economic scenarios and consequent land-use change to 2020. We found that expanding PAs to achieve representation targets for ecoregions under a Business-as-usual socio-economic scenario will result in a worse prognosis than doing nothing for more than 50% of the world’s terrestrial mammals. By contrast, targeting protection towards threatened species can increase the suitable habitat available to over 60% of terrestrial mammals. Even in the absence of additional protection, an alternative socio-economic scenario, adopting progressive changes in human consumption, leads to positive outcomes for mammals globally and to the largest improvements for wide-ranging species. © 2015 The Authors.

Wood L.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Wood L.,University of British Columbia
Environmental Management | Year: 2011

Global marine protection targets have been criticised for being ecologically irrelevant and often inadequate. However, they may also provide motivation for conservation action. However, no such targets have yet been met, and the health of the marine environment has continued to deteriorate. The Tenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) recently adopted a new marine protection target, in October, 2010. As such, it is timely to critically assess the potential role of this and other global marine protection targets in conservation and marine resource management. Three targets adopted in the past ten years were assessed using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound) framework. This assessment showed that the targets appear to have evolved to have become 'SMARTer' over time, particularly more Specific. The most recent CBD target also appears to be more Achievable than earlier targets. Three broad issues emerged that can inform the potential role, limitations, and challenges associated with global-scale marine protection targets: (i) that SMART target formulation, implementation, monitoring, and revision, is critically underpinned by relevant data and information; (ii) that perceived irrelevance of global targets may be at least partly due to a mismatch between the scale at which the targets were intended to operate, and the scale at which they have sometimes been assessed; and (iii) the primary role of global-scale targets may indeed be psychological rather than ecological. Recent progress indicates some success in this role, which could be built on with further 'SMARTening' of targets. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Phalan B.,University of Cambridge | Balmford A.,University of Cambridge | Green R.E.,University of Cambridge | Scharlemann J.P.W.,World Conservation Monitoring Center
Food Policy | Year: 2011

Should farming and conservation policies aim broadly to separate land for nature and land for production (land sparing) or integrate production and conservation on the same land (wildlife-friendly farming)? Most studies that try to address this question suffer from flaws in sampling design, inappropriate metrics, and/or failure to measure biodiversity baselines. We discuss how these failings can be addressed, and what existing information tells us about the key debates on this topic. The evidence available suggests that trade-offs between biodiversity and yield are prevalent. While there are some wildlife-friendly farming systems that support high species richness, a large proportion of wild species cannot survive in even the most benign farming systems. To conserve those species, protection of wild lands will remain essential. Sustainable intensification could help to facilitate sparing of such lands, provided that as much attention is given to protecting habitats as to raising yields. We discuss the general circumstances under which yield increases can facilitate land sparing, recognising that policies and social safeguards will need to be context-specific. In some situations, bringing degraded lands into production could help reduce pressure on wild lands, but much more information is needed on the biodiversity implications of using degraded lands. We conclude that restricting human requirements for land globally will be important in limiting the impacts on biodiversity of increasing food production. To achieve this, society will need to integrate explicit conservation objectives into local, regional and international policies affecting the food system. © 2010.

Lafortezza R.,University of Cambridge | Lafortezza R.,University of Bari | Coomes D.A.,University of Cambridge | Kapos V.,University of Cambridge | And 2 more authors.
Global Ecology and Biogeography | Year: 2010

Aim: Few studies have attempted to assess the overall impact of fragmentation at the landscape scale. We quantify the impacts of fragmentation on plant diversity by assessing patterns of community composition in relation to a range of fragmentation measures. Location: The investigation was undertaken in two regions of New Zealand - a relatively unfragmented area of lowland rain forest in south Westland and a highly fragmented montane forest on the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps. Methods: We calculated an index of community similarity (Bray-Curtis) between forest plots we regarded as potentially affected by fragmentation and control forest plots located deep inside continuous forest areas. Using a multiple nonlinear regression technique that incorporates spatial autocorrelation effects, we analysed plant community composition in relation to measures of fragmentation at the patch and landscape levels. From the resulting regression equation, we predicted community composition for every forest pixel on land-cover maps of the study areas and used these maps to calculate a landscape-level estimate of compositional change, which we term'BioFrag'. BioFrag has a value of one if fragmentation has no detectable effect on communities within a landscape, and tends towards zero if fragmentation has a strong effect. Results: We detected a weak, but significant, impact of fragmentation metrics operating at both the patch and landscape levels. Observed values of BioFrag ranged from 0.68 to 0.90, suggesting that patterns of fragmentation have medium to weak impacts on forest plant communities in NewZealand. BioFrag values varied in meaningful ways among landscapes and between the ground-cover and tree and shrub communities. Main conclusions: BioFrag advances methods that describe spatial patterns of forest cover by incorporating the exact spatial patterns of observed species responses to fragmentation operating at multiple spatial scales. BioFrag can be applied to any landscape and ecological community across the globe and represents a significant step towards developing a biologically relevant, landscape-scale index of habitat fragmentation. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Harvey C.A.,Center for Applied Biodiversity Science | Dickson B.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Kormos C.,WILD Inc
Conservation Letters | Year: 2010

The United Nations climate negotiations on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) provide a rare opportunity for conservation of tropical forests and biodiversity. Here, we explore the implications of REDD design and implementation options on biodiversity conservation and ways to link REDD with biodiversity conservation. From both a mitigation and biodiversity perspective, the most important immediate steps are to ensure that REDD is included in the new global climate agreement and maximizes the area of tropical forest conserved. It may also be possible to include guidelines or incentives within a REDD framework or in national implementation to channel funding to areas of high biodiversity. However, if the immediate steps above are not taken first, REDD will reach neither its mitigation nor its biodiversity conservation potential. ©2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc..

Layke C.,World Resources Institute | Mapendembe A.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Brown C.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Walpole M.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Winn J.,World Conservation Monitoring Center
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2012

There is growing interests among policy-makers in applying ecosystem services concepts to inform strategies that provide for peoples' needs while sustaining ecosystems and maintaining biodiversity. Since many policy dialogs and decisions rely on metrics and indicators to communicate concise and relevant information, an assessment of ecosystem service indicators can help identify gaps hindering policy-makers from more fully adopting ecosystem service approaches. In this study, we present an evaluation of ecosystem service indicators compiled from over 20 ecosystem assessments conducted at multiple scales and many countries. Based on criteria used to assess the compiled indicators, the strengths and weaknesses of indicators for different ecosystem services are explored, and possible reasons for these patterns examined. We then outline some priority steps for identifying and applying indicators to improve the ability of policy-makers to more fully mainstream ecosystem service approaches. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Geldmann J.,Copenhagen University | Barnes M.,University of Queensland | Barnes M.,World Conservation Monitoring Center | Coad L.,Environmental Decisions Group | And 4 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2013

Protected Areas (PAs) are a critical tool for maintaining habitat integrity and species diversity, and now cover more than 12.7% of the planet's land surface area. However, there is considerable debate on the extent to which PAs deliver conservation outcomes in terms of habitat and species protection. A systematic review approach is applied to investigate the evidence from peer reviewed and grey literature on the effectiveness of PAs focusing on two outcomes: (a) habitat cover and (b) species populations. We only include studies that causally link conservation inputs to outcomes against appropriate counterfactuals. From 2599 publications we found 76 studies from 51 papers that evaluated impacts on habitat cover, and 42 studies from 35 papers on species populations. Three conclusions emerged: first, there is good evidence that PAs have conserved forest habitat; second, evidence remains inconclusive that PAs have been effective at maintaining species populations, although more positive than negative results are reported in the literature; third, causal connections between management inputs and conservation outcomes in PAs are rarely evaluated in the literature. Overall, available evidence suggests that PAs deliver positive outcomes, but there remains a limited evidence base, and weak understanding of the conditions under which PAs succeed or fail to deliver conservation outcomes. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Adams W.M.,University of Cambridge | Sandbrook C.,World Conservation Monitoring Center
ORYX | Year: 2013

Abstract A growing literature argues for evidence-based conservation. This concept reflects a wider approach to policy-making and follows thinking in medicine, in which rigorous, objective analysis of evidence has contributed to widespread improvements in medical outcomes. Clearly, conservation decisions should be informed by the best information available. However, we identify issues relating to the type and sources of evidence commonly used and the way evidence-based conservation studies frame policy debate. In this paper we discuss two issues; firstly, we ask 'what counts as evidence?' (what is meant by evidence, and what kind of evidence is given credibility). We conclude that evidence-based conservation should adopt a broad definition of evidence to give meaningful space for qualitative data, and local and indigenous knowledge. Secondly, we ask 'how does evidence count?' (the relationship between evidence and the policy-making process). We conclude that there should be greater recognition that policy-making is a complex and messy process, and that the role of evidence in policy making can never be neutral. In the light of these issues we suggest some changes to build on developing practice under the title evidence-informed conservation. The change in terminology is subtle, yet it has profound implications in that it calls for a re-positioning and re-understanding of conservation science as one source of information among many for decision-makers. © 2013 Fauna & Flora International.

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