Socio-economic conditions critical to PAs

An international study published in Nature Communications involving CEED researchers from the University of Queensland has found that protected areas (PAs) have been largely successful at safeguarding wildlife within their boundaries, particularly in wealthier, more developed countries.

Lead author Megan Barnes said the socio-economic conditions of the country in which a park was located was found to be a more important indicator of success than other factors such as the protected area size, design or type. “National Parks are the cornerstone of most country’s conservation plans, so it’s essential they work as well as possible,” says Megan Barnes. “It’s important to tailor protected area management strategies to social and political conditions. Wildlife protection needs strong national governance to be successful.”


Barnes MD, ID Craigie, LB Harrison, J Geldmann, B Collen, S Whitmee, A Balmford, ND Burgess, T Brooks, M Hockings & S Woodley (2016). Wildlife population trends in protected areas predicted by national socio-economic metrics and body size. Nature Communications. 

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