Biodiversity Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (4): 507-518.doi: 10.17520/biods.2015046

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Analysis and prediction of development in global terrestrial protected areas between 1950 and 2013

Bian Fan, Keming Ma*()   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085
  • Received:2015-02-27 Accepted:2015-05-07 Online:2015-08-03
  • Ma Keming

Protected areas (PAs) have become a key global effort to protect biodiversity. Understanding their status and growth trends is thus significant for planning and development of PAs. In considering the drawbacks of previous research (time and spatial scale and comparison of results), our study focused on the description and prediction of growth in terrestrial PAs from 1950 to 2013 within global, continental, regional and national scales, by using the World Database of Protected Areas ( The results showed that at the global scale, terrestrial PAs grew quickly especially after 1990s. At the continental and regional scales, three different trends appear. In America and Oceania, terrestrial PAs grew quickly, similar to trends found at the global scale. In Asia and Europe, peak growth occurred in 1980s and 1990s. In Africa, development peaked in the 1970s and 2000s. A non-equilibrium status existed among the countries with respect to development of PAs, the PAs coverage in nearly half of the countries is less than 10%, but this gap decreased over time. Most countries with weak growth uniformity of PAs located in Africa. At global scale, the Target 11 of the Aichi Biodiversity Target might not be reached in 2020, but 22 countries including China would achieve this goal in time. This study provides a reference for planning and development of future PAs.

Key words: terrestrial protected areas, multi-scale, Aichi Biodiversity Targets, uniformity, Holt’s exponential smoothing

Fig. 1

Development of protected areas (PAs) in continental scale from 1950 to 2013. (a) The growth of areas in terrestrial PAs within continents; (b) The development in ratio of PAs increments within continents."

Fig. 2

The wave of terrestrial protected areas development within continents"

Fig. 3

Hot spots of terrestrial protected areas growth"

Fig. 4

The distribution of terrestrial PAs developments within countries. (a) The distribution of PAs coverage within countries; (b)The distribution in maximum of PAs period increment within countries."

Fig. 5

The prediction of terrestrial PAs development in 2020. (a) The prediction in global and continental scales; (b) The predictionin regional scale."

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