Animal Conservation

Cover image for Vol. 20 Issue 1

Edited By: Res Altwegg, Darren Evans, John Ewen, Iain Gordon, Jeff A. Johnson, Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita and Julie Young

Impact Factor: 2.788

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2015: 10/49 (Biodiversity Conservation); 48/150 (Ecology)

Online ISSN: 1469-1795

Associated Title(s): International Zoo Yearbook, Journal of Zoology, Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

Virtual Issue - Protected Areas

Pettorelli, N.

Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK

Virtual Issue Protected Areas

In the battle to reduce the unprecedented levels of species extinction and biodiversity loss, few weapons are known to be as old and as widely implemented as protected areas (Pressey, 1996). Defined as “a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values” (Dudley, 2008), these areas indeed form the core of most national or regional biodiversity conservation strategies, with currently around 160,000 designated terrestrial protected areas and around 6,800 marine protected areas in the world (Soutullo, 2010, Toropova et al., 2010, Protected Planet 2012). They constitute an important stock of natural, cultural and social capital, yielding flows of economically valuable goods and services that benefit society, secure livelihoods, and hence contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (Convention on Biological Diversity, 2012). They also are a strategic benchmark against which scientists can gain an understanding of human interactions with the natural world and associated impacts (Dudley, 2008). Protected areas are thus of high significance to both practitioners and conservation biologists, and have triggered for decades advances in both environmental management and ecology.

Despite the amount of knowledge already accumulated on protected areas as a tool to conserve biodiversity, there is still much to be learnt. Protected areas truly sit at the interface between people and nature, and represent a form of conservation interventions that can sometimes entail massive costs to societies: when it comes to making decisions about the future management of the global protected area network, each individual on earth is a stakeholder. To answer questions such as where to set a new protected area, or how to manage efficiently such an area, truly requires a multi-disciplinary approach that combines the concerns and knowledge of all, spanning from adjacent communities members, anthropologists and economists, to lawyers, ecologists and local, national and international decision makers. If there was a perfect set of issues to test and increase our ability, as conservation biologists, to be truly collaborative and integrative, then the set of issues related to protected areas would probably come close to being first.

Supporting the establishment and management of protected areas with robust science is a key priority for conservation science, explaining why numerous articles have been published over the past decade in Animal Conservation on that particular topic. In this special issue, I have tried to put together a set of articles that illustrates the complexity and challenges associated with the design and implementation of an effective protected area network. Hopefully such a selection will enthuse a new pool of scientists to join the global debate and start addressing the current gaps in knowledge, as many more hands are required to adequately inform the many environmental decisions to come.


Convention on Biological Diversity (2012), accessed on the 2nd of October, 2012

Dudley, N. (2008). Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. x 86pp.

Pressey, R.L. (1996) Protected areas: where should they be and why should they be there? In Conservation biology (ed.) I F Spellerberg (Harlow: Longman) pp 171–185.

Protected Planet (2012), accessed on the 2nd of October, 2012

Soutullo, A. (2010) Extent of the Global Network of Terrestrial Protected Areas. Conservation Biology 24: 362-363.

Toropova, C., Meliane, I., Laffoley, D., Matthews, E. and Spalding, M. (eds.) (2010). Global Ocean Protection: Present Status and Future Possibilities. Brest, France: Agence des aires marines protégées, Gland, Switzerland, Washington, DC and New York, USA: IUCN WCPA, Cambridge, UK : UNEP-WCMC, Arlington, USA: TNC, Tokyo, Japan: UNU, New York, USA: WCS. 96pp.

Articles in the Virtual Issue

Pettorelli et al. (2010) “Protected areas: the challenges of maintaining a strong backbone for conservation strategies worldwide”.
Animal Conservation 13(4): 333-334 (Editorial)

Kiffner at al. (2012) “Edge effects and large mammal distributions in a national park”.
Animal Conservation, published online 17/7/2012 (Research Paper)

Beresford et al. (2011) “Poor overlap between the distribution of protected areas and globally threatened birds in Africa”.
Animal Conservation 14(2): 99-107 (Feature paper)

Greve et al. (2011) “The ecological effectiveness of protected areas: a case study for South African birds”.
Animal Conservation 14(3): 295-305 (Research Paper)

Forrest et al. (2011) “Single-species conservation in a multiple-use landscape: current protection of the tiger range”.
Animal Conservation 14(3): 283-294 (Research Paper)

Guixe & Arroyo (2011) “Appropriateness of special protection areas for wide-ranging species: the importance of scale and protecting foraging, not just nesting habitats”.
Animal Conservation 14(4): 391-399 (Research Paper)

Danielsen & Treadaway (2004) “Priority conservation areas for butterflies in the Philippine islands”.
Animal Conservation 7(1): 79-92 (Research Paper)

Ashe et al. (2010) “Animal behavior and marine protected areas: incorporating behavioural data into the selection of marine protected areas for an endangered killer whale population”.
Animal Conservation 13(2): 196-203 (Research Paper)

Pettorelli et al. (2010) “Carnivore biodiversity in Tanzania: Revealing the distribution patterns of secretive mammals using camera traps”.
Animal Conservation 13: 131–139 (Research Paper)

Jackson et al. (2004) “Size matters: the value of small populations for wintering waterbirds”.
Animal Conservation 7(3): 229-239 (Research Paper)

Cordes et al. (2011) “Long-term patterns in harbor seal site-use and the consequences for managing protected areas”.
Animal Conservation 14(4): 430-438 (Research Paper)

Balme et al. (2010) “Edge effects and the impact of non-protected areas in carnivore conservation: leopards in the Phinda-Mkhuze Complex, South Africa”.
Animal Conservation 13(3): 315-323 (Research Paper)

Thirgood et al. (2004) “Can parks protect migratory ungulates? The case of the Serengeti wildebeest”.
Animal Conservation 7(2): 113-120 (Research Paper)

Hebblewhite et al. (2012) “Is there a future for Amur tigers in a restored tiger conservation landscape in Northeast China?”.
Animal Conservation, early online

Urquiza-Haas et al. (2011) “Large vertebrate responses to forest cover and hunting pressure in communal landholdings and protected areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico”.
Animal Conservation 14(3): 271-282 (Research Paper)

Licona et al. (2011) “Using ungulate occurrence to evaluate community-based conservation within a biosphere reserve model”.
Animal Conservation 14(2): 206-213 (Research Paper)