Global biodiversity is declining rapidly, posing a severe threat to ecosystem functions and services. To effectively prevent biodiversity loss, Protected Areas (PAs), especially for in-situ conservation, have been established. Conservation gap analysis can be used to assess the adequacy of PAs in aligning with conservation priorities
In a study published in Biological Conservation, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) tried to devise a conservation modeling framework that can be used by policymakers to assess the efficiency of natural PAs and to optimize existing PAs, using the Xishuangbanna area in China as a case study.
The researchers performed a comprehensive regional conservation assessment of the effectiveness of existing PAs in protecting the habitats of endangered plant species in Xishuangbanna
They focused particularly on evaluating conservation gaps between existing PAs and suitable hotspot boundaries. They also assessed possible approaches for better protecting the natural habitat of species and regional biodiversity patterns as part of global biodiversity hotspots.
The results indicated that endangered species require much attention and biodiversity monitoring.
The results also revealed the existence of conservation gaps and a need for locally reliable monitoring programs on global biodiversity conservation, a research area which requires further attention.
The combined modeling method (MaxEnt-InVEST) can delineate through mapping the unique locations of conservation priorities based on actual species distribution data and can consider current land uses.
“The method can support flexible conservation policies for PAs and can be used as a standard component of global biodiversity assessment and conservation approaches. Thus it can help assess the efficiency of PAs and their success in achieving their stated conservation goals,” said Dr. BAI Yang, corresponding author of the study.
BAI Yang Ph.D
Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China