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A conservation planning approach to mitigate the impacts of leakage from protected area networks

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Bode, M., Tulloch, A. I. T., Mills, M., Venter, O. & W. Ando, A. (2015) A conservation planning approach to mitigate the impacts of leakage from protected area networks. Conservation Biology, 29: 765–774.

Protected area (PA) networks are designed to limit human pressure in areas of high biodiversity value. People living close to PAs, when denied access to the resources within the PA, will start looking for these resources elsewhere, therefore changing the pattern of human pressures on the landscape, a process known as leakage. The authors combined models of household utility, adaptive human foraging, and biodiversity conservation to provide a bioeconomic model of leakage that accounts for spatial heterogeneity. Leakage had strong and divergent impacts on the performance of protected area networks, undermining biodiversity benefits but mitigating the negative impacts on local resource users. When leakage was present, this model showed that poorly designed protected area networks resulted in a substantial net loss of biodiversity. However, the effects of leakage can be mitigated if they are taken into account in the conservation planning process. If protected areas are coupled with policy instruments such as market subsidies, this model shows that the trade-offs between biodiversity and human well-being can be further and more directly reduced.

Access online here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12434/full

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