News Round-Up

Protected areas’ location may hinder conservation efforts of refugee species


The tendency to place protected areas in habitats that are less attractive to humans because they are not very productive may be the reason why many species remain threatened and continue to decline.

In a new study published in Conservation Science and Practice, an international team of researchers dubs this phenomenon the “Protected Area Paradox.” They contend that despite the growth in both marine and land-based protected areas globally, the attempt to conserve species in suboptimal habitats is yielding poor outcomes.

“Species that live in these types of habitats are known as refugee species and, in general, they suffer lower densities and fitness,” said Graham Kerley, lead author of the study and a professor at the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. “This is because the species ends up living, not in the habitat most favourable to it, but in the habitat least favourable to the threats that caused its decline”. MORE