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      Effectiveness of Natura 2000 system for habitat types protection: A case study from the Czech Republic

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          Abstract

          In conservation biology, there is a general consensus that protected areas (PAs) are one of the most effective tools for biodiversity protection. Worldwide, the area of PAs is continually increasing. But is the effectiveness of biodiversity protection improving with it? Since many PAs only exist as “paper parks” (i.e. they exist on maps and in legislation but offer little actual protection), the answer is uncertain. Moreover, it has long been known that, not only an increase in the extent of PAs, but also the efficiency of their management is fundamentally important for effective nature conservation. Therefore, there is a wide-ranging discussion about the actual effectiveness of PAs and factors that influence it. In the course of the EU pre-accession phase, a comprehensive field mapping of natural habitats took place in the Czech Republic in years 2001−2004. The mapping results were used to designate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) as part of the Natura 2000 network. In this study, the aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of this newly created system of SACs for protection of biodiversity represented by the mapped natural habitats. The NCEI index (Nature Conservation Effectiveness Index) was applied, calculated as the total area of a particular habitat type in all SACs in the Czech Republic divided by the total area of that same natural habitat in the entire Czech Republic. Habitat protection in the Czech Republic is focused primarily on the smallest types of rare habitats, many of which are classified as critically endangered. The Czech national system of SACs provides protection to a total of 4,491.68 km2 of natural habitats. Based on these results, it can be concluded that the overall effectiveness of the SAC system in the Czech Republic, which is specifically aimed at protecting natural habitats, is low (NCEI = 0.36). Nevertheless, the critically endangered habitats receive maximum protection (NCEI = 1).

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          Most cited references 39

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          Challenges in the Quest for Keystones

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            Global hotspots of species richness are not congruent with endemism or threat.

            Biodiversity hotspots have a prominent role in conservation biology, but it remains controversial to what extent different types of hotspot are congruent. Previous studies were unable to provide a general answer because they used a single biodiversity index, were geographically restricted, compared areas of unequal size or did not quantitatively compare hotspot types. Here we use a new global database on the breeding distribution of all known extant bird species to test for congruence across three types of hotspot. We demonstrate that hotspots of species richness, threat and endemism do not show the same geographical distribution. Only 2.5% of hotspot areas are common to all three aspects of diversity, with over 80% of hotspots being idiosyncratic. More generally, there is a surprisingly low overall congruence of biodiversity indices, with any one index explaining less than 24% of variation in the other indices. These results suggest that, even within a single taxonomic class, different mechanisms are responsible for the origin and maintenance of different aspects of diversity. Consequently, the different types of hotspots also vary greatly in their utility as conservation tools.
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              The Global 200: Priority Ecoregions for Global Conservation

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                January 04 2018
                January 04 2018
                : 24
                : 21-41
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.24.21608
                © 2018

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