• Open Access

Protected Area Effectiveness in Reducing Conversion in a Rapidly Vanishing Ecosystem: The Brazilian Cerrado

Authors

  • Tharsila Carranza,

    Corresponding author
    1. Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
    • Correspondence

      Tharsila Carranza, Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 (0) 1223-336670.

      E-mail: tc353@cam.ac.uk.

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  • Andrew Balmford,

    1. Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
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  • Valerie Kapos,

    1. Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
    2. United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), Cambridge, UK
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  • Andrea Manica

    1. Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
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  • Editor Jonah Busch

Abstract

Measuring how far protected areas (PAs) reduce threats to nature is essential for effective conservation. This is especially important where a high degree of threat is coupled with opportunities for increasing conservation investments, such as in the Brazilian Cerrado. We examined the effectiveness of strictly protected and multiple-use PAs as well as indigenous lands (ILs) in reducing conversion in Cerrado from 2002 to 2009 by using matching methods to sample protected and unprotected sites similarly exposed to pressures. We found that both types of PAs and ILs experienced lower habitat conversion during this period than did matched unprotected sites, whether results were analysed for individual PAs or for PA networks as a whole. Judging from their matched unprotected sites, strictly PAs had similar levels of baseline conversion to multiple-use PAs, but were more effective at reducing it. This may be expected as multiple-use PAs are under less restrictive land-use rules. ILs had a strong effect in reducing conversion, though baseline rates in matched areas were also high. Our results highlight the usefulness of PAs in the Cerrado and the value of research that differentiates among PA categories.

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