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Countering resistance to protected-area extension.

  • Lindenmayer, David1
  • Thorn, Simon2, 3
  • Noss, Reed4, 5
  • 1 Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, 2601, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 2 Field Station Fabrikschleichach, Biocenter University of Würzburg, Glashüttenstraße 5, 96181, Rauhenebrach.
  • 3 Bavarian Forest National Park, Freyunger Str. 2, 94481, Grafenau, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 4 Florida Institute for Conservation Science, 2205 Sultan Circle, Chuluota, FL, 32766, USA.
  • 5 Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC, 27708, USA.
Published Article
Conservation Biology
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Jul 19, 2017
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12990
PMID: 28722213


The establishment of protected areas is a critical strategy for conserving biodiversity. Key policy directives like the Aichi targets seek to expand protected areas to 17% of the earth's land surface, with calls by some conservation biologists for much more. However, in places such as the USA, Germany and Australia, attempts to increase protected areas are meeting strong resistance from communities, industry groups, and governments. Here we provide case studies of such resistance and suggest four ways to tackle this problem: (1) Broaden the case for protected areas beyond just nature conservation, to include the economic, human health, and other benefits, and translate these into a persuasive business case for protected areas. (2) Better communicate the conservation values of protected areas. This should include highlighting how many species, communities, and ecosystems have been conserved by protected areas and also the counterfactual - what would have been lost without protected area establishment. (3) Consider zoning of activities to ensure the maintenance of effective management. And, (4) Remind citizens to think about conservation when they vote, including holding politicians accountable for their environmental promises. Without tackling resistance to expanding the protected estate, it will be impossible to reach conservation targets and this will undermine attempts to stem the global extinction crisis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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