Global projections of 21st century land-use changes in regions adjacent to protected areas

Linda J. Beaumont, Daisy Duursma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
10 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The conservation efficiency of Protected Areas (PA) is influenced by the health and characteristics of the surrounding landscape matrix. Fragmentation of adjacent lands interrupts ecological flows within PAs and will decrease the ability of species to shift their distribution as climate changes. For five periods across the 21st century, we assessed changes to the extent of primary land, secondary land, pasture and crop land projected to occur within 50 km buffers surrounding IUCN-designated PAs. Four scenarios of land-use were obtained from the Land-Use Harmonization Project, developed for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The scenarios project the continued decline of primary lands within buffers surrounding PAs. Substantial losses are projected to occur across buffer regions in the tropical forest biomes of Indo-Malayan and the Temperate Broadleaf forests of the Nearctic. A number of buffer regions are projected to have negligible primary land remaining by 2100, including those in the Afrotropic's Tropical/Subtropical Grassland/Savanna/Shrubland. From 2010-2050, secondary land is projected to increase within most buffer regions, although, as with pasture and crops within tropical and temperate forests, projections from the four land-use scenarios may diverge substantially in magnitude and direction of change. These scenarios demonstrate a range of alternate futures, and show that although effective mitigation strategies may reduce pressure on land surrounding PAs, these areas will contain an increasingly heterogeneous matrix of primary and human-modified landscapes. Successful management of buffer regions will be imperative to ensure effectiveness of PAs and to facilitate climate-induced shifts in species ranges.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere43714
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume7
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) [2012]. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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