▪ Abstract The world's system of protected areas has grown exponentially over the past 25 years, particularly in developing countries where biodiversity is greatest. Concurrently, the mission of protected areas has expanded from biodiversity conservation to improving human welfare. The result is a shift in favor of protected areas allowing local resource use. Given the multiple purposes of many protected areas, measuring effectiveness is difficult. Our review of 49 tropical protected areas shows that parks are generally effective at curtailing deforestation within their boundaries. But deforestation in surrounding areas is isolating protected areas. Many initiatives now aim to link protected areas to local socioeconomic development. Some of these initiatives have been successful, but in general expectations need to be tempered regarding the capacity of protected areas to alleviate poverty. Greater attention must also be paid to the broader policy context of biodiversity loss, poverty, and unsustainable land use in developing countries.
Annual Review of Environment and Resources – Annual Reviews
Published: Nov 21, 2005
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