Measuring the success of East African protected areas — ScienceDaily

East Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) has 1,776 protected areas (including 186 "strict" protected areas) covering more than 27% of its land area. Researchers at the University of California, Davis have now documented the extent to which the East African Protected Area Network truly protects wildlife and habitat.

According to their publication in the Open Access Journal Global Ecology and Conservation 86% of the ecological zones in East Africa have achieved the goal of the Aids Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, namely the protection of each At least 10% of the ecological area. However, the three ecological zones (two deserts in northern Kenya and coastal forests in southeastern Tanzania) are underrepresented, with an area of ​​less than 10% and under some form of protection.

"Although the 10% protection target may be an arbitrarily low standard, it does indicate that countries have made substantial progress in achieving the goals set by the international community," said lead author Jason Rigio, who is California. Postdoctoral scholar at the University of Davis. Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology.

The researchers used the same goal to protect endemic and near-local species (at least 90% of which were all contained in East Africa), and the researchers found that protected areas covered at least 10% of the distribution. 256 of the 303 East African epidemics. However, many (37%) of these species do not have a 10% coverage of strict protected areas.

"We use the protection of endemic species in the region as a representative indicator, because these species must have a small scope, and their conservation prospects are mainly driven by conservation decisions at the local and regional levels," said co-author Tim Caro. Thesis and Professor of the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology at the University of California, Davis.

Scientists used land conversion maps based on high spatial resolution satellite imagery to assess erosion of East African protected areas by agriculture and other land uses. Encouragingly, they found that only 6.8% of protected areas and only 1.6% of strictly protected areas have been converted to agricultural or other human uses.

"Our findings provide very strong evidence that strict protection measures have successfully protected habitats," said Andrew Jacobson, co-author and new professor at the Catawba Institute Environmental Center in North Carolina. Say.

Their analysis shows that the East African protected area network is extensive in both quantity and area, it effectively protects most natural habitats, and the further expansion of protected areas to cover some of the priority biodiversity conservation areas remains Possible and necessary. The paper recommends focusing on increasing the representation of target reserves in northern Kenya, coastal forests in southeastern Tanzania, and central and western Uganda.

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