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Wednesday, April 11 • 4:15pm - 4:30pm
HABITAT FRAGMENTATION/CONNECTIVITY: Effectiveness of Protected Areas in Reducing Deforestation

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AUTHORS: Hongbo Yang, Jianguo Liu – Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Protected areas have long been considered as the cornerstone of ecological conservation and have been expanding rapidly around the world. While designating more land as protected areas is important, there is a growing concern about the degree to which existing protected areas are effective in achieving desirable ecological outcomes and how their effectiveness is affected by socio-ecological factors. However, at large spatial scales, the ecological effectiveness of protected areas and the underlying determinants remain unclear. Here, we evaluated the effectiveness of each of the protected areas in China established before 2000 in reducing deforestation – one of the biggest threats to global ecosystem health – between 2000 and 2015. We found that, at varying degrees, the majority of protected areas were identified as effective in reducing deforestation. Without their establishment, an area of about 160,000 hectares would have been deforested, an amount of forest that can sequestrate about 120 Megaton of carbon annually. Protected areas in regions with high deforestation pressures often contribute more to reducing deforestation. Some other attributes of protected areas, such as protection strictness, are also correlated with their effectiveness in reducing deforestation. These results provide important information to improve the effectiveness of protected areas and fully realize the promise they provide for biodiversity conservation in China and beyond.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 4:15pm - 4:30pm CDT
Hancock Parlor