Working paper Open Access

Legal changes threaten iconic protected areas

Qin, Siyu; Golden Kroner, Rachel E.; Cook, Carly; Tesfaw, Anteneh T.; Braybrook, Rowan; Rodriguez, Carlos Manuel; Poelking, Claire; Mascia, Michael B.

Protected areas are expected to conserve nature and provide ecosystem services in perpetuity, yet widespread protected area downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement (PADDD) may compromise this objective. While PADDD events often go unacknowledged, even iconic areas are vulnerable to PADDD. We describe PADDD events in five renowned PAs with UNESCO designations to illustrate the context and dynamics of PADDD and possible consequences. We then draw insights from published research, three international workshops, and our own experiences to identify key areas for future research to comprehensively understand PADDD; policies to transparently govern PADDD; and capacity to support PADDD research and policy reforms. As we consider the achievements under Aichi Target 11 and move towards new biodiversity goals beyond 2020, we offer a call to action for researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers to work together to increase the capacity to track, assess, and govern PADDD globally.

Recommended citation: Qin, S., R.E. Golden Kroner, C. Cook, A.T. Tesfaw, R. Braybrook, Rowan, C.M. Rodriguez, C. Poelking, M.B. Mascia. 2018. Legal changes threaten iconic protected areas. CI Working Paper #2. Arlington, VA: Conservation International. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1469059 

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