Biodiv Sci ›› 2022, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (10): 22459.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022459

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Biodiversity conservation research in protected areas: A review

Wei Wang1,2, Yue Zhou1,2, Yu Tian1,2, Junsheng Li3,*()   

  1. 1. State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Regional Eco-process and Function Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
    2. Institute of Ecology, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
    3. Command Center for Comprehensive Survey of Natural Resources, China Geological Survey Bureau, Beijing 100055
  • Received:2022-08-11 Accepted:2022-10-24 Online:2022-10-20 Published:2022-11-08
  • Contact: Junsheng Li


Background & Aims: The establishment of protected areas (PAs) is one of the most important measures to protect biodiversity. Generally speaking, recent studies on biodiversity conservation in PAs have focused on key ecosystems and rare and endangered species, and explored the status and changes of these conservation objects. There have been a series of scientific debates on issues such as the number and size of PAs, how many important ecosystems and species can be protected in PAs, and whether PAs effectively protect biodiversity. However, there are still few systematic reviews of the above-mentioned research issues; thus, this paper systematically covers research progress in these fields in recent years, from the spatial layout of PAs and their relationship to the distribution of biodiversity, to biodiversity change and the conservation-effectiveness of PAs.
Advances: Studies on the spatial layout of PAs and biodiversity distribution generally focused the status of biodiversity, mainly investigating topics we label as “how much is enough?”, “representativeness and conservation gaps”, and “where to protect?”. Based on the analysis of biodiversity changes in PAs, scholars from different countries have conducted substantial research on conservation-effectiveness assessment at the global, national, and individual-PA scale, and gradually developed a method of pairwise analysis inside and outside of PAs to improve the accuracy of assessments.
Prospects: We conclude by proposing a potential future studies on biodiversity conservation in PAs, which mainly include: (1) Integrating studies on conservation status and biodiversity change in PAs; (2) Studying the optimal spatial layout of PAs under multi objectives; (3) Strengthening the identification, investigation, and monitoring of major conservation objects in PAs; (4) Improving the quality and connectivity of PAs; and (5) Exploring the relationship between management measures and conservation effectiveness of PAs. We hope this paper can provide a reference for the formulation and implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, especially in the construction and optimization of PAs in the next 10 years.

Key words: the Aichi biodiversity targets, conservation effectiveness, representativeness, national parks, key biodiversity areas, nature reserves, Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework