Abstract: Protected areas in marine and terrestrial environments have tended to be residual to extractive uses and have therefore done little to intervene in the loss of biodiversity. Their “impact” has been small, with impact defined as the difference that protected areas make to one or more intended outcomes, relative to the counterfactual of no intervention or a different intervention. Thinking around the impact of protected areas is emerging from at least three previously distinct threads: the design of BACI experiments to estimate the effectiveness of protected areas; ideas from the field of impact evaluation in medicine, education, and development aid; and conservation science directed at measuring biases in protection and influencing policy to reduce these biases. This presentation is based on a draft manuscript for a theme issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society dedicated to impact of protected areas. The presentation uses two conceptual maps – one of the factors influencing impact of protected areas, and one on decision making to achieve impact – to develop feasible approaches to setting policy targets and operational objectives for planning and management so that the impact of both established and yet-to-be established protected areas can be maximized.
Bio:Bob Pressey leads the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies’ conservation planning group, with projects covering diverse topics and geographies, and aimed at influencing policy and practice for conservation.