Paper Title: Designing protected area networks that translate international conservation commitments into national action
Like many areas of Amazonia, Guyana is characterized by a combination of high biodiversity and low economic development. In recent years, activities that threaten biodiversity conservation have increased, and therefore protected areas have become increasingly critical. The researchers took a novel, cost-effective approach to planning protected areas in Guyana to bring the country’s total protected terrestrial area to 17% to reach the Aichi target, up from the previous 8.5%. To do so, they conducted stakeholder-led spatial conservation prioritisation based on biodiversity targets for vegetation types and vertebrate species, while minimising costs for forestry, mining, agriculture and urbanisation. The analysis in this study identified 3 million ha of priority areas for conservation, which helped to inform government plans to double the current protected area network in Guyana. They also developed a new technique to prioritise engagement with local communities whose lands are identified as important to conservation. This provides a scientifically robust and politically acceptable protected area expansion strategy for Guyana, as well as illustrating the importance of conservation planning at the country-scale to convert international commitments into national action.
Authors: Jake E.Bicknell, Murray B.Collins, Rob S.A.Pickles, Niall P.McCann, Curtis R.Bernard, Damian J.Fernandes, Mark G.R.Miller, Samantha M.James, Aiesha U.Williams, Matthew J.Struebig, Zoe G.Davies, Robert J.Smith
Journal: Biological Conservation
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