K301 Felix

Assessing the effectiveness of protected areas in southwest China using alternative approaches

(Oral and Poster)

Di Zhang
Hao Wang
Zhi Lu


Protected areas (PAs) are at the forefront of conservation efforts, and yet despite considerable progress towards the global target of having 17% of the world's land area within protected areas by 2020, biodiversity continues to decline(Coad, L et al, 2015). Over the past two decades, attention has increasingly focused on assessing the effectiveness of management in these sites, especially to support adaptive improvements to management. The principal PAs in China are nature reserves, spanning over 80% of protected areas. (Weihua Xu et al, 2017). By the end of 2016, there were 2750 nature reserves in China, took up more than 14.9% of terrestrial land. However, little evidence showed their biodiversity conservation effectiveness based on quantitative assessments. The current assessment measures in China are mainly qualitative rapid assessments based on questionnaire survey or expert judgement, which might be subject to a range of biases. Those assessments are necessary when limited or no monitoring data are available, but still, more standardized, transparent and repeatable evaluations of biodiversity outcomes are expected to be built. Through a sampling survey, we found that the monitoring capacity has been largely improved within nature reserves at national level in recent 7 years. However, many of them failed to get the greatest benefits from the quantitative data-sets available to inform conservation outcomes. By starting with several case studies of forestry national nature reserves in southwest China, we try to build a comprehensive assessment system to evaluate the nature reserves’ conservation outcomes based on their conservation targets, and understand the extent to which those nature reserves are currently supporting both biodiversity conservation and provisioning of ecosystem services to local communities. .


Coad, L., Leverington, F., Knights, K., Geldmann, J., Eassom, A., Kapos, V., ... & Nolte, C. (2015). Measuring impact of protected area management interventions: current and future use of the Global Database of Protected Area Management Effectiveness. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 370(1681), 20140281.

Xu, W., Xiao, Y., Zhang, J., Yang, W., Zhang, L., Hull, V., ... & Jiang, L. (2017). Strengthening protected areas for biodiversity and ecosystem services in China. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201620503.