*Current address: Ecoinformatics & Biodiversity Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus-C, Denmark.
The ecological effectiveness of protected areas: a case study for South African birds
Article first published online: 21 FEB 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Animal Conservation © 2011 The Zoological Society of London
Volume 14, Issue 3, pages 295–305, June 2011
How to Cite
Greve, M., Chown, S. L., van Rensburg, B. J., Dallimer, M. and Gaston, K. J. (2011), The ecological effectiveness of protected areas: a case study for South African birds. Animal Conservation, 14: 295–305. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2010.00429.x
Editor: Res Altwegg
Associate Editor: Nick Isaac
- Issue published online: 26 MAY 2011
- Article first published online: 21 FEB 2011
- Received 14 June 2010; accepted 17 November 2010
- protected areas;
- South Africa;
- species richness
While the importance of individual protected areas (PAs) to biological conservation is widely acknowledged, rather few empirical studies have explicitly attempted to assess their ecological effectiveness. Significantly, this includes consideration of how well they represent the biodiversity of taxonomic groups for which the designation of these areas was not a primary or intentional goal. Here, we provide one of the most detailed comparisons to date of the avian biodiversity found inside and outside PAs, focusing on three PAs distributed widely across South Africa. Typically, bird assemblages were richer, with a higher density, and a different structural and functional composition inside than outside the PAs. Importantly, insectivore richness was much higher inside than outside, and the converse was true of granivores. Overall, these findings suggest that PAs do indeed provide valuable repositories for native biodiversity, with species richness, density and species composition being substantially different beyond their bounds. With human land-use increasing in South Africa, and habitat transformation recognized as a major and growing threat to biodiversity, such differences are expected to become greater.