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Single-species conservation in a multiple-use landscape: current protection of the tiger range

Authors


  • Editor: Matthew Gompper

Correspondence
Jessica L. Forrest, World Wildlife Fund-US, Conservation Science Program, 1250 24th Street NW, Washington, DC, USA. Tel:+1 202 495 4171; Fax:+1 202 293 9211
E-mail: jessica.forrest@wwfus.org

Abstract

We report on land management and protected area management effectiveness in the tiger range. Wild tigers Panthera tigris are found in 13 countries, with habitat that is also important for ecosystem services, biodiversity and a number of other threatened species. Timber production, mineral mining, oil and gas concessions and protected areas are common land-use designations in tiger habitat. Twenty-one per cent of the current tiger range is under some form of protection, while 9% is designated as ‘strictly protected,’ in IUCN categories I or II. Fifteen per cent of the tiger range is under oil and gas concession. These concessions also overlap 152 protected areas, 55 of which are categorized as strictly protected. Management effectiveness tracking tool responses suggest that the majority of protected areas in the tiger range are inadequately managed to meet their objectives, and the most commonly reported management challenges are minimal enforcement and budgets. We observe that even strictly protected areas are subject to a variety of pressures, particularly resource extraction. Results imply that the establishment and enforcement of effective protected areas in each tiger landscape, sufficient to protect and grow breeding tiger populations, could help change current trends. These areas should be free from incompatible land uses, and should be adequately resourced to meet management, enforcement and monitoring challenges. Weaknesses in protected area management identified here have implications for species and ecosystem services that share the same geography as tigers. In addition, results suggest that similar issues may exist for threatened species and protected areas in other geographies as well.

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