Protected areas

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<b>Protected Areas in the Amazon: forest management, conflict and social participation

<b>Protected Areas in the Amazon: forest management, conflict and social participation

Besides that, the protected areas represent for the State a source of financial resources by the promotion of projects of payments for environmental services. Those services are justified because of climate change intensified by human actions, whose historic increase concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHG) takes place from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, (Raupach et al., 2007). Studies are being promoted in this sense, and the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on climate change brings the findings of such evidence (IPCC, 2014a, 2014b). Methodology/approach
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Empowerment of the fishing community of Sesimbra through a participatory process: MARGov – collaborative governance in marine protected areas

Empowerment of the fishing community of Sesimbra through a participatory process: MARGov – collaborative governance in marine protected areas

The implementation of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) aims to foster nature conservation and/or planning activities. In 1998, Professor Luiz Saldanha Marine Park was implemented as a marine extension of Arrábida Natural Park, and in 2005 its Development Plan was approved. The Sesimbra village, with strong ties to marine activities including fishing, is embedded in this protected area. Although they agree with the existence of the Marine Park, the fishing community of Sesimbra has seen their activities regulated by rules they do not agree with or accept. As a result conflict has arisen between the various stakeholders. During 2009, the MARGov project - Collaborative Governance for Marine Protected Areas - started its activity with the aim of creating a collective governance model through a participatory process structured and adaptable to the characteristics of the local community. This paper aims to analyse the Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) issues associated with this process. The paper also examines the extent to which these have been expressed by and realized in the community. Here we find that outcomes are related to the extent that LEK is acknowledged and empowered. Our primary conclusion is that all kinds of knowledge are important for a successful participatory process and must be taken into account to obtain useful results in the management of common natural resources, particularly when developing and implementing MPAs that impact local established livelihoods and ways of living.
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Antarctica's protected areas are inadequate, unrepresentative, and at risk.

Antarctica's protected areas are inadequate, unrepresentative, and at risk.

Abstract: Antarctica is widely re- garded as one of the planet’s last true wildernesses, insulated from threat by its remoteness and dec- laration as a natural reserve dedi- cated to peace and science. How- ever, rapidly growing human activity is accelerating threats to biodiversity. We determined how well the existing protected-area system represents terrestrial biodi- versity and assessed the risk to protected areas from biological invasions, the region’s most signif- icant conservation threat. We found that Antarctica is one of the planet’s least protected regions, with only 1.5% of its ice-free area formally designated as specially protected areas. Five of the distinct ice-free ecoregions have no spe- cially designated areas for the protection of biodiversity. Every one of the 55 designated areas that protect Antarctica’s biodiversi- ty lies closer to sites of high human activity than expected by chance, and seven lie in high-risk areas for biological invasions. By any mea- sure, including Aichi Target 11 under the Convention on Biological Diversity, Antarctic biodiversity is poorly protected by reserves, and those reserves are threatened.
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Tourism revenue as a conservation tool for threatened birds in protected areas.

Tourism revenue as a conservation tool for threatened birds in protected areas.

Our findings as presented above fall into two major categories: firstly, on the degree of protection or otherwise for threatened bird species; and secondly, on the relative contributions of revenue from tourism. In the first category, we show that 57% of critically endangered and 35% of endangered bird species do not occur at all inside the current global protected area network, highlighting the global extinction risk facing many species. We also show that 14 individual protected areas each protect the last remaining populations for more than one critically endangered or endan- gered bird species (Table 1), and are hence of particular significance for bird conservation. Half of these protected areas are in South America, reflecting the high diversity and restricted ranges of neotropical avifauna. Three are on islands, particularly vulnerable to some threats but relatively protected from others [33], and sometimes amenable to direct conservation interven- tions, with a number of successful examples [34–36]. These findings confirm longstanding concerns over inadequate protec- tion of bird species worldwide [9,10].
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Assessing the dynamic of structural changes in Cerrado vegetation of protected and non-protected areas using NDVI

Assessing the dynamic of structural changes in Cerrado vegetation of protected and non-protected areas using NDVI

Abstract The structure of Brazilian savannah, named locally as “cerrado”, tends to change if the human pressures, such as pasture and intensive fire, are suppressed showing a densification of the physiognomies throughout the time. Vegetation Index acquired from remotely sensed data has been a proper way to study and monitoring large areas, and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is one of the most used for this purpose. The aim of this study was to assess the dynamic of structural changes in protected and non-protected areas of cerrado vegetation using NDVI. For this purpose, three cerrado fragments in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, were evaluated for a 26 year time span from 1985 and 2011, being two of them protected against anthropogenic interference. Landsat 5 –Thematic Mapper images were used and processed in ArcGIS. In the protected areas NDVI indicated that the vegetation followed the expected trend of changes for cerrado, with more open physiognomies tending to be denser throughout this period of 26 years, whereas in the non-protected fragment the NDVI evidences human pressure, showing lower phytomass in 2011. NDVI showed to be efficient in detecting and monitoring changes in cerrado vegetation structure, and can be useful to study both, the natural dynamics of cerrado vegetation and the anthropogenic interference in protected areas.
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Review of the effects of protection in marine protected areas: current knowledge and gaps

Review of the effects of protection in marine protected areas: current knowledge and gaps

Coastal marine environments host key habitats for many endangered marine populations, yet their acces- sibility and proximity to heavily inhabited areas makes them vulnerable to over exploitation through fishing, and to direct anthropogenic impacts. Traditionally, the demand of food in coastal areas makes fishing one of the most important activities impacting these areas. Fishing exerts direct pressure on the environment as well as on fish stocks, and there is unequivocal evidence that fishing has reduced the abundance and size of the most targeted and valuable species (Chapman & Kramer, 1999; Edgar & Barrett, 1999; McClanahan et al., 1999; Chiappone et al., 2000; Willis et al., 2003; Williamson et al., 2004). Poor planning and overpopulation of coastal areas has added to the problem due to resulting pollution and excessive recreational use (Bellan–Santini et al., 1994). In recent years, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been increasingly seen as a way of reducing the inten- sity of these impacts (Ward et al., 1999). Since the creation of the first MPA in 1935 (Doumenge, 1993), MPAs have been established throughout the world as a management tool for compensating the effects of human impacts on the coastal marine environment (Agardy, 1994). Specifically, MPAs are implemented to reduce the effects of overfishing of coastal mari- ne stocks, preserve marine biodiversity and protect key habitats (Francour et al., 2001; Halpern, 2003). They also provide a sustainable socioeconomic de- velopment for human communities in coastal areas (Sainsbury & Sumaila, 2003).
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Creating Protected Areas on Public Lands: Is There Room for Additional Conservation?

Creating Protected Areas on Public Lands: Is There Room for Additional Conservation?

The PAs located in the study area and selected for this study cover 561,920 ha. We used Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to build a geospatial data set of relevant biophysical and socioeconomic conditions. We first established the forest cover conditions using a mosaic of Landsat Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) satellite images between 1974 and 1976, and from 1986 and 2011 a mosaic of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) satellite images (Landscape Ecol- ogy Laboratory, Universidad de Concepción, Chile) (see Fig 2). MSS images consist of four spec- tral bands with 60 meter spatial resolution and TM images consist of seven spectral bands with a spatial resolution of 30-meter pixels. The MSS pixels were resampled to make them compara- ble to TM pixels. A random sample of 2,549 and 36,417 points (pixels) was obtained to charac- terize protected and unprotected land respectively. These treated and control points were selected to well represent the study area and to include approximately one pixel per 1 km2 of land within the study area. After removing points that were not usable because of the land use change obtained from the satellite images classification (e.g. a forested point in 1986 without data in the 2011 satellite image), the final dataset comprised 1,978 treated points covering all protected areas included in the analysis and 23,181 control points. To determine if a land pixel is considered protected for the analyses, a layer containing all PAs was overlaid with a general map of the study area. The sampling excluded indigenous land and private PAs because they are subject to different legal and land use regimes. For the purpose of this analysis, a private PA is a piece of land of any size that: (i) is managed with the purpose of conserving biodiversity; (ii) is protected with or without formal recognition from the government; and (iii) is managed directly or indirectly by individuals, communities, corporations or non-governmental organizations.
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Comparing webshare services to assess mountain bike use in protected areas

Comparing webshare services to assess mountain bike use in protected areas

The PNSC (Fig. 1) is located within Sintra and Cascais munici- palities, in Lisbon's Metropolitan Area, which has 2.8 M in- habitants. Created in 1994 and being part of the National Network of Protected Areas, it is one of the Portuguese PAs closest to the Portuguese capital and the one with the highest resident density and visitor's number all year round. With 14,583 ha and maximum altitude of 528 m, it has a wide variety of ecosystems, some with high value, included in Natura 2000 Network. Sintra Village and the surrounding areas are classified as UNESCO's World Heritage under the Cultural Landscape category (Baltazar & Martins, 2005). This PA is one of the two in Portugal that owns a Nature Sports Chart (CDN) which regulates recreational and sports activities in- side the park. Published in 2008 and currently being revised, it allows for a series of activities, as Hiking, Climbing, Horse Riding, Mountain biking, Speleology, etc. For MTB, it allows competition or recreational use, in pathways and forest roads, offering 7 cross country individual and circular trails, ranging from 15 km to 25 km (Fig. 1) (Regulamento da Carta de Desporto de Natureza do Parque Natural de Sintra-Cascais de 18 Janeiro, 2008).
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Developing a Planning and Management System for Protected Areas on Small Islands (The Azores Archipelago, Portugal): the SMARTPARKS Project

Developing a Planning and Management System for Protected Areas on Small Islands (The Azores Archipelago, Portugal): the SMARTPARKS Project

Conservation as we know it nowadays was only generally recognized in the latter half of the 19th century. The first real protected areas were declared in Germany in the 1820s (EEA, 2012) and the first “National Park” been created was the Yellowstone National Park in the United States in 1872 (Mulongoy & Chape, 2004). At that time protected areas were almost free of human influence, and were managed mainly for visitors and tourists, placing high value on wilderness and natural sceneries with little regard for the local communities (Phillips, 2003a). Societal benefits were mostly considered as incompatible with protected area
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CICS.NOVA Understanding and mapping local conflicts related to protected areas in small islands

CICS.NOVA Understanding and mapping local conflicts related to protected areas in small islands

Among others, participatory mapping based on the visualization of conflicting areas has shown to be a useful and simple tool to anticipate and identify areas of potential land-use conflicts, facilitating conflict resolution and communication among decision-makers and stakeholders (Harris & Weiner, 1998; Kwaku Kyem, 2004; Brown and Raymond, 2014). Studies have demonstrated that the most influential factors on stakeholders’ attitudes towards PA are their cost-benefit perception of the park, their involvement in the park establishment and their previous experiences with the organizing institutions (Thuy et al., 2011; Nastran, 2015). According to Rauschmayer and Wittmer (2006), by combining deliberative and analytical methods, environmental conflicts can be more effectively resolved. In this context, many researchers suggested the use of Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) as a potentially practical approach to dealing with conservation conflicts and/or assessing the trade-offs associated with alternative interventions to manage conflicts (Davies et al., 2013). Moreover, MCA has been frequently integrated with GIS, providing a useful tool to, for example, map environmental disputes associated with establishing PAs in coastal areas (Brody et al., 2004), identify potential sites for tourism development (Wong & Fung, 2015), develop a zoning scheme for supporting marine protected areas (MPAs) planning in a context with scarce resources (Habtemariam & Fang, 2016), support the evaluation for site selection of offshore marine fish farm (Dapueto et al., 2015), suggest specific zoning strategies to assist the establishment of MPAs in Taiwan (Lu et al., 2014), support PAs zoning (Geneletti & van Duren, 2008), among others.
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A global assessment of the effectiveness of different protection levels in marine protected areas of tropical waters, following a new categorization

A global assessment of the effectiveness of different protection levels in marine protected areas of tropical waters, following a new categorization

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a common tool for conserving and managing marine and coastal ecosystems. MPAs encompass a range of protection levels, from fully protected areas (FPAs) to partially protected areas (PPAs), with restriction of particular activities, gear types or user groups. There is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the ecological benefits of FPAs, but it is very difficult to generalize about the effects of partial protection, due to their high variability. However, it is critical to determine whether PPAs and FPAs provide similar ecological benefits, since the establishment of FPAs is in some situations a less popular strategy, due to the loss of fishing grounds and local sociopolitical antagonism. For the purpose of conducting a meta-analysis, we synthesized peer-reviewed studies comparing biological measures (biomass and density) of commercially targeted fish species in PPAs relative to FPAs and open access areas (OAs) across the tropical seas, resulting in a database of 33 PPAs. A new categorization scheme was used to group the different types of PPAs according to the extractive activities permitted within their boundaries, into three categories: highly regulated PPAs, moderately regulated PPAs, and weakly and very weakly regulated PPAs. The response to protection was examined in relation to PPA category, age and size. The present synthesis indicates that, overall, tropical PPAs generate greater biological responses in the biomass of targeted fish compared to OAs and demonstrate no significant differences when compared to FPAs. Grouping the PPAs according to uses allowed revealed that areas with highly regulated extraction exhibit greater biomass of targeted fish relative to areas with weakly regulated categories. The density of the targeted fish species did not demonstrate a response to the different protection regimes as strong as the biomass did. Although there was a high degree of variability in the magnitude of responses to protection, the age and size of the PPAs explained some of this variability. Overall, PPAs with limited and well regulated extraction activities may confer benefits and be a valuable conservation management option, especially, in areas where FPAs are not a viable option or in multi-zoning MPAs.
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Land planarian assemblages in protected areas of the interior atlantic forest: implications for conservation.

Land planarian assemblages in protected areas of the interior atlantic forest: implications for conservation.

The surveys were performed in two reserves of Misiones province, separated by about 40 km: Reserva de Vida Silvestre Urugua-ı´ (RVSU) (25 u 599 S, 54u 059 W) and Campo Anexo Manuel Belgrano (CAMB) (26 u 029 S, 53u 479 W), each representing the Paranaense Forest and Moist Forest with A. angustifolia, respectively (Figure 1). The reserves are differentiated by conserved surface, altitude, management degree, and vegeta- tion type. RVSU is a private natural reserve that covers 3,423 ha at ,200 m a.s.l. It was created in 1997 and previously used for selective logging until the 1970s. This reserve, now under strict protection, is part of one of the largest corridors of continuous original rainforest in the southern portion of the Atlantic Forest, a ‘green block’ of almost 6,000 km 2 [24]. It is characterized by diversified forests, although trees of Balfourodendron riedelianum and Nectandra spp. dominate plant formations. CAMB is a governmen- tal forest reserve that covers 2,136 ha at ,600 m a.s.l. It was created in 1948 to protect native and planted populations of A. angustifolia. This rainforest is also characterized by an undergrowth of tree ferns (Alsophyla sp., Dicksonia sp., Trichipteris sp.) [24]. However, in CAMB there are also plantations with exotic conifers (Pinus taeda). Therefore, this reserve is a mosaic of preserved and disturbed areas, isolated from other protected areas and surrounded mainly by small farms (Figure 1).
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THE COLLECTIVE ACTION ON GOVERNING THE COMMONS IN THE SURROUNDINGS OF PROTECTED AREAS

THE COLLECTIVE ACTION ON GOVERNING THE COMMONS IN THE SURROUNDINGS OF PROTECTED AREAS

Some key issues stem from this scenario. Firstly, by what criteria Brazil creates its protected areas and what results emerged since the creation of Itatiaia National Park in 1937 (first Brazilian National Park)? Secondly, how such unilateral interference promotes distortions in rural areas and leads to conflicts in the areas expropriated for conserva- tion? Thirdly, how institutional actors organize themselves and perform in the process of governing the common natural resources? On the one hand, there are public or private policies for environmental protection; on the other hand, there are rural development policies aiming to build new alternatives for the livelihoods of the populations residing in rural areas adjacent to the protected areas. In such context starts a “game” with a complex variety of actors operating in an arena materialized around protected areas, where are needed compromises and agreements to allow a minimal deal on the use of common-pool resources. Although, who indeed pays the bill? Who assumes the costs of maintaining and preserving natural resources and at the same time providing rural goods and services?
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Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems.

Climate warming, marine protected areas and the ocean-scale integrity of coral reef ecosystems.

Coral reefs have emerged as one of the ecosystems most vulnerable to climate variation and change. While the contribution of a warming climate to the loss of live coral cover has been well documented across large spatial and temporal scales, the associated effects on fish have not. Here, we respond to recent and repeated calls to assess the importance of local management in conserving coral reefs in the context of global climate change. Such information is important, as coral reef fish assemblages are the most species dense vertebrate communities on earth, contributing critical ecosystem functions and providing crucial ecosystem services to human societies in tropical countries. Our assessment of the impacts of the 1998 mass bleaching event on coral cover, reef structural complexity, and reef associated fishes spans 7 countries, 66 sites and 26 degrees of latitude in the Indian Ocean. Using Bayesian meta-analysis we show that changes in the size structure, diversity and trophic composition of the reef fish community have followed coral declines. Although the ocean scale integrity of these coral reef ecosystems has been lost, it is positive to see the effects are spatially variable at multiple scales, with impacts and vulnerability affected by geography but not management regime. Existing no-take marine protected areas still support high biomass of fish, however they had no positive affect on the ecosystem response to large-scale disturbance. This suggests a need for future conservation and management efforts to identify and protect regional refugia, which should be integrated into existing management frameworks and combined with policies to improve system-wide resilience to climate variation and change.
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Opportunities drive the global distribution of protected areas

Opportunities drive the global distribution of protected areas

The current distribution of protected areas responds to a deliberate process guided by a complex interplay of motivations related to perceived societal benefits (McNeely, Harrison & Dingwall, 1994; Pressey, 1994; Margules & Pressey, 2000; Watson et al., 2014). The strength of different motivations changed through history and across territories (Wirth, 1962; Sellars, 1997; Erize, 2003; Mace, 2014). Many of the protected areas established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries responded to practical interests such as favoring tourism or preserving iconic landscape features. However, since the second half of the 20th century, protection has been influenced by a widespread agreement on the importance of maintaining nature in general and biodiversity in particular. Therefore, part of the present-day expansion of protected areas aims to include areas of high species richness, endemism hotspots, or underrepresented ecological or biophysical conditions. Ultimately, we classify these motivations as preferential or representative. The former corresponds to the preservation of specific biological, spiritual, economic, or geopolitical values offered by some territory. The latter corresponds to the protection of a balanced sample of the multiple biophysical environments hosted by a territory, a country, or the whole globe (Pressey, 1994; Lovejoy, 2006) (Table 1). These two groups of motivations interact with different opportunistic forces that shape conservation, as protected areas are frequently deployed in areas that face little human interventions and have comparatively low opportunity-costs, at least at the time of their establishment (Joppa & Pfaff, 2009; Aycrigg et al., 2013; Durán et al., 2013). Consequently, protection has been biased towards unproductive or isolated areas (e.g., cold, dry, with poor soils), leaving other territories inadequately protected despite their potential conservation value (e.g., temperate, subhumid areas) (Pressey, 1994; McNeely & Schutyser, 2003; Hoekstra et al., 2005; Joppa & Pfaff, 2009).
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Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): Methodologies for assessment

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): Methodologies for assessment

Marine Protected Areas are an effective way of protecting biodiversity, with potential socio-economic benefits including the enhancement of local fisheries and maintenance of ecosystem services. However, local fishing communities often fear short-term revenue losses and thus may oppose marine protected areas creation. This work includes a review of the need of having management effectiveness evaluation and its importance in providing useful information for stakeholders. Therefore, evaluation methodologies are presented and assessed in order to suggest possible approaches to the Berlengas MPA. In this case, an indicator-based approach can be relevant as a starting point, providing already some insights about the management effectiveness of Berlengas MPA. It also supports the development of a more ambitious approach such as a bio-economic model.
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A century of change in Kenya's mammal communities: increased richness and decreased uniqueness in six protected areas.

A century of change in Kenya's mammal communities: increased richness and decreased uniqueness in six protected areas.

The potential for large-scale biodiversity losses as a result of climate change and human impact presents major challenges for ecology and conservation science. Governments around the world have established national parks and wildlife reserves to help protect biodiversity, but there are few studies on the long-term consequences of this strategy. We use Kenya as a case study to investigate species richness and other attributes of mammal communities in 6 protected areas over the past century. Museum records from African expeditions that comprehensively sampled mammals from these same areas in the early 1900’s provide a baseline for evaluating changes in species richness and community structure over time. We compare species lists assembled from archived specimens (1896–1950) to those of corresponding modern protected areas (1950– 2013). Species richness in Kenya was stable or increased at 5 out of 6 sites from historical to modern times. Beta-diversity, in contrast, decreased across all sites. Potential biases such as variable historical vs. modern collection effort and detection of small-bodied, rare, and low-visibility species do not account for the observed results. We attribute the pattern of decreased beta diversity primarily to increased site occupancy by common species across all body size classes. Despite a decrease in land area available to wildlife, our data do not show the extinctions predicted by species-area relationships. Moreover, the results indicate that species-area curves based solely on protected areas could underestimate diversity because they do not account for mammal species whose ranges extend beyond protected area boundaries. We conclude that the 6 protected areas have been effective in preserving species richness in spite of continuing conversion of wild grasslands to cropland, but the overall decrease in beta diversity indicates a decline in the uniqueness of mammal communities that historically characterized Kenya’s varied landscape.
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Biodiversity conservation: history, protected areas and hotspots

Biodiversity conservation: history, protected areas and hotspots

The development during the nineteenth century of pragmatic wildlife management practices into a sophisticated conservation science is reflected in the histories of the protected areas systems of South Africa, Namibia and Tanzania (Carruthers 2017). Angola has had very limited investment in research in its national parks and reserves until the present decade. Notwithstanding limited resources, biologists from the Instituto de Investigação Científica de Angola (IICA) and the Instituto de Investigação Agronómica de Angola conducted important surveys of birds (Pinto 1983), mammals (Frade 1956, 1960; Crawford-Cabral 1970, 1971) and vegetation (Teixeira et  al. 1967; Teixeira 1968; Barbosa 1970) in various parks during the 1960s and 1970s. Estes and Estes (1974) undertook detailed behavioural studies of Giant Sable in Luando in 1970/71. Huntley undertook general ecological surveys in the protected areas and across most of Angola (Huntley 1973, 1974d, 2017), while Dean (2000) studied the avifauna of Angola in the field and in the key collections of museums of Angola, Europe and the USA. But it was not until the present century that more detailed studies were initiated in the protected areas of Angola, such as the long-term studies of Giant Sable in Cangandala and Luando by Vaz Pinto (2018) and of sea turtles on the Angolan coast (Kitabanga Project 2017). Nevertheless, there have recently been important surveys of the remnant populations of large mammals in the protected areas of Angola (Beja et al. 2019), and on the threatened and endemic avifauna of the escarpment (Dean et al. 2019).
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BIODIVERSITY AND THE PROTECTED AREAS SYSTEM IN ALBANIA

BIODIVERSITY AND THE PROTECTED AREAS SYSTEM IN ALBANIA

Abstract: Albania possesses a wide range of ecological systems including coastal zones, estuaries and lagoons, lakes and wetlands, grasslands, middle-low altitude coppice forests, high altitude forests, alpine vegetation and glacial areas. The country possesses about 3,250 species of vascular plants, 165 families and more than 900 genera. Medicinal plants (botanicals) and non-timber forest products have a long history of importance in the culture and traditional knowledge of Albania. Proper legislation and especially legal and regulatory framework enforcement for the regulation of this developing industry remains lacking. A Strategy of Biodiversity plan developed in 2000 calls for an increase in the Protected Areas system which currently covers some 6 % of Albania’s area to a total area of 435,600 ha, approximately 15 % of the country’s territory. Changes in the legal and policy framework as well as institutional structures is required to move forward and provide an environment for biodiversity conservation and a sustainable protected areas system. The various threats to biodiversity and constraints to improvement are outlined as well as recommendations for sustainable use, assessment and regulation.
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Reef Fishes at All Trophic Levels Respond Positively to Effective Marine Protected Areas.

Reef Fishes at All Trophic Levels Respond Positively to Effective Marine Protected Areas.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) offer a unique opportunity to test the assumption that fish- ing pressure affects some trophic groups more than others. Removal of larger predators through fishing is often suggested to have positive flow-on effects for some lower trophic groups, in which case protection from fishing should result in suppression of lower trophic groups as predator populations recover. We tested this by assessing differences in the tro- phic structure of reef fish communities associated with 79 MPAs and open-access sites worldwide, using a standardised quantitative dataset on reef fish community structure. The biomass of all major trophic groups (higher carnivores, benthic carnivores, planktivores and herbivores) was significantly greater (by 40% - 200%) in effective no-take MPAs relative to fished open-access areas. This effect was most pronounced for individuals in large size classes, but with no size class of any trophic group showing signs of depressed biomass in MPAs, as predicted from higher predator abundance. Thus, greater biomass in effective MPAs implies that exploitation on shallow rocky and coral reefs negatively affects biomass of all fish trophic groups and size classes. These direct effects of fishing on trophic structure appear stronger than any top down effects on lower trophic levels that would be imposed by intact predator populations. We propose that exploitation affects fish assemblages at all tro- phic levels, and that local ecosystem function is generally modified by fishing.
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