Designing Conservation Areas

4.3 Designing Conservation Areas
What do we need to consider?
• The design of protected areas is an important
field of research in conservation biology. The
essential questions involve criteria for the size,
shape, and positioning of protected areas to
optimize their ability to protect biodiversity, while
using funding as efficiently as possible.
Conservation biologists recommend that
protected areas be as large and numerous as
possible. Other design aspects, however, are
more controversial. Controversy over the design
of protected areas involves the following key
Is it preferable to have one large reserve,
or a number of smaller ones of the same
total area?
Conservation biologists identify this
question with the acronym SLOSS, which
stands for: single large, or several small.
According to ecological theory, populations
in larger protected areas should have a
smaller risk of extinction, compared to
those in smaller reserves. However, if
there are populations in several different
reserves, the redundancy might prevent
extinction in the event of a catastrophic
loss in one reserve.
Total number of species of amphibians and reptilians on seven different islands in the West
Indies. Based on Figure 2 on page 8 of "The theory of island biogeography" by MacArthur and
Wilson, itself based on research by Darlington circa 1957. (Hence, the numbers are likely to
differ from actual numbers today
Edge effects
Reserves can also be designed to have less edge (or
ecotone) habitat. This refers to transitions between
ecosystem types, such as that between a forest and
a field. Edge habitat is often penetrated by invasive
species and predators, which can become
important problems in some protected areas. In
addition, many species require interior habitat for
breeding; meaning they are intolerant of ecotones.
Larger protected areas have proportionately more
interior habitat, as do simple-shaped ones (a circle
has the smallest ratio of edge to area).
For many ecological functions to operate well,
there must be connections among habitats. This
is particularly true of the dispersal of plants and
animals. This need can be accommodated if
protected areas are linked by corridors of
suitable habitat, or if they are clumped close
together. However, corridors might also serve as
conduits for invasive species and diseases.
Once You’ve set up a protected
The conservation of biodiversity in protected areas
also requires the monitoring of key ecological
values, such as the populations of endangered
species and the health of natural ecosystems. It
may also be necessary to conduct research to
determine the appropriate kinds of management
required, and to then implement that management.
Management includes actions such as patrolling to
prevent poaching of timber and animals, altering
habitats to maintain their suitability for threatened
species, and captive breeding and release of
endangered species.
Read more:
Protected Area - Design Of Protected Areas Habitat, Species, Edge, Reserves, Conservation, and
Protected Area - Management Of Protected Areas Species and Endangered
Mkomazi a habitat and species
conservation success ?
Read the article on Mkomazi game reserve in Tanzania
How did the reserve come into being?
Which is it; S.L.O.S.S? What other reserves does it link to?
What was the initial impact on local residents?
What does Tony Fitzjohn do for the displaced peoples?
Where and how does he get his funding?
What 2 critically endangered species are being targeted? How
is each being conserved?
What do critics claim is Mkomazi is becoming a ‘benchmark’
for? Do you think it is a fair judgement?
Look at the following site for an alternative perspective using an
example in Ethiopia.
You could use the following images to illustrate your answers:
Black Rhino:
African Wild Dog:,_1820).jpg
The map (you can resize it) taken from:
Local Masai:
Managing the ecosystem to
ensure survival
Protected Area - Design Of Protected Areas
Related flashcards

26 Cards

Agricultural gods

13 Cards


25 Cards


54 Cards

Create flashcards