A recent publication by de la Fuente et al. (2020) reveales that land productivity has dropped or risen in nearly half of the total land under protection worldwide from 1999 to 2013. The scientists analysed the trends in land productivity in protected areas (PAs) of at least 10 km² and in their unprotected surroundings (10 km buffer).
They discovered that 44% of the land in PAs globally has retained the productivity at stable levels from 1999 to 2013, compared to 42% of stable productivity in the unprotected land around PAs. Persistent increases in productivity are more common in the unprotected lands around PAs (32%) than within PAs (18%), while about 14% of the protected land and 12% of the unprotected land around PAs has experienced declines in land productivity.
Further, they found that trends in land productivity within PAs are unevenly distributed across continents. For example, in Europe, PAs and the land surrounding PAs show less land with stable productivity (38% and 32%, respectively) than other continents. The highest percentage of land with stable productivity within PAs is found in Oceania (57%).
The authors conclude that these changes in land productivity may be related to a range of pressures and factors (from climate change to land use intensification). They suggest focusing future research on disentangling these processes – processes, which may be detrimental for the long-term conservation of ecosystem health, biological diversity and ecosystem services.
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de la Fuente B, Weynants M, Bertzky B, Delli G, Mandrici A, Garcia Bendito E, et al. (2020) Land productivity dynamics in and around protected areas globally from 1999 to 2013. PLoS ONE 15(8): e0224958. doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224958