Anticipating Anthropogenic Threats in Acquiring New Protected Areas

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Conservation Biology

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Biodiversity continues to decline despite protected area expansion and global conservation commitments. Biodiversity losses occur within existing protected areas, yet common methods to select protected areas ignore post-implementation threats that reduce effectiveness. We develop a framework for protected area planning with ongoing anthropogenic threats, considering planners who account for threats to species within protected areas and planners who consider costly threat-mitigating activities. Accounting for threats and implementing threat-mitigating activities increases benefits from protected areas without increasing budgets. Threat information can be valuable even without enforcement, especially on landscapes with randomly distributed threats. Benefits from including threat information and the ability to enforce are largest when human threats peak in areas of high species richness and lowest where human threats are negatively associated with species richness. Because acquiring information on threats and using threat-mitigating activities are costly, our findings guide decision-makers regarding in which settings to pursue these steps in planning. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


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