Do parks work? Impact of protected areas on land cover clearing
This paper evaluates the impact of protected areas on land-cover clearing, using a metadata analysis of information on 49 locations from 22 countries. Protected areas had significantly lower rates of clearing in comparison to their surroundings. In addition, protected areas had also significantly lowered rates of clearing within their boundary following initiation of protection. Thus, protected areas do appear to be effective at limiting overall land-cover clearing. There was some variation in the rates of clearing across regions, where most protected areas from North America and Europe showed positive rates of land-cover change, while protected areas from Asia had the highest rates of land-cover clearing. While most protected areas from North America and Europe involved a relatively smaller number of actors, a greater number of actors and drivers of clearing was implicated in protected areas from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, indicating the increased difficulties faced by park management in these regions. In contrast, country income levels and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources category of protection did not appear to impact the likelihood of land-cover clearing in protected areas.