• Open Access

Examining protected area effectiveness in Sumatra: importance of regulations governing unprotected lands

Authors

  • D.L.A. Gaveau,

    1. 1Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
    2. Living Landscapes Indonesia, Jl. Parit H. Husin 2, Gg. Wisata 1, No. 11B. Pontianak, West Kalimantan, 78121, Indonesia
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  • L.M. Curran,

    1. 1Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
    2. Department of Anthropology, Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall Bldg 50, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
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  • G.D. Paoli,

    1. Daemeter Consulting, Jl. Tangkuban Perahu No.6, Bogor, Jawa Barat, 16151 Indonesia
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  • K. M. Carlson,

    1. 1Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, 473 Via Ortega, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
    2. Department of Anthropology, Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall Bldg 50, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
    3. School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, 195 Prospect St., New Haven, CT 06511, USA
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  • P. Wells,

    1. Daemeter Consulting, Jl. Tangkuban Perahu No.6, Bogor, Jawa Barat, 16151 Indonesia
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  • A. Besse-Rimba,

    1. Department of Environmental Science, Udayana University, Badung, Bali, 80361, Indonesia
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  • D. Ratnasari,

    1. Living Landscapes Indonesia, Jl. Parit H. Husin 2, Gg. Wisata 1, No. 11B. Pontianak, West Kalimantan, 78121, Indonesia
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  • N. Leader-Williams

    1. Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge CB2 3EN, UK
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  • This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as an ‘Accepted Article’, doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.00220.x

Correspondence
Email: dgaveau@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract

Several studies suggest that protected areas conserve forests because deforestation rates are lower inside than outside protected area boundaries. Such benefits may be overestimated when deforestation rates within protected areas are contrasted with rates in lands where forest conversion is sanctioned. Here, we re-examine protected area performance by disentangling the effects of land use regulations surrounding the 110,000 km2 protected area network in Sumatra, Indonesia.

We compared 1990–2000 deforestation rates across: (i) protected areas; (ii) unprotected areas sanctioned for conversion; and (iii) unprotected production areas where commercial logging is permitted but conversion is not. Deforestation rates were lower in protected areas than in conversion areas (Mean: -19.8%; 95%C.I.: -29.7%− -10.0%; P<0.001), but did not differ from production areas (Mean: -3.3%; 95%C.I.: -9.6%− 2.6%; P= 0.273).

The measured protection impact of Sumatran protected areas differs with land use regulations governing unprotected lands used for comparisons. If these regulations are not considered, protected areas will appear increasingly effective as larger unprotected forested areas are sanctioned for conversion and deforested. In the 1990s, production areas were as effective as protected areas at reducing deforestation. We discuss implications of these findings for carbon conservation.

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