How protected areas influence their surroundings

In a study recently published in Conservation Biology, Judith Ament, a PhD student at the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, investigated how South African national parks influence land-cover loss outside their boundaries.

Throughout much of the history of conservation biology, the establishment of protected areas has been the prevailing strategy to conserve land and wildlife. Research on the effectiveness of protected areas in preventing land-cover loss inside park boundaries is abundant, but protected-area effects on the broader landscape are less well understood.

In a geospatial matching analysis that controlled for environmental covariates, Judith Ament and Prof. Graeme Cumming of the University of Cape Town, found evidence for both positive and negative spillover in different regions of South Africa. They found the results of their investigation highly dependent on the scale of analysis, in which national analyses were found too broad-brush to capture park-specific landscape dynamics.

A longer version of this article was originally published on the CBER News page. Read the article here, or access the full paper in Conservation Biology here.

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