CIE Spotlight: Knock-on effects of national risk assessments on the conservation of global biodiversity

Authors: Antonios D. Mazaris, Despoina Vokou, Vasiliki Almpanidou, Gail Schofield

Source: Aquatic Conservation

Brief summary of the paper:

  1. Global biodiversity conservation relies on the efficient operation of protected areas, with revenue often originating from visitors. However, visitors generally select destinations where personal security and safety are guaranteed.
  2. Information about potential threats (natural hazards or terrorism) for global destinations is mainly released to the public via national safety travel advice and via global reports on disaster and terrorism risk indices.
  3. This study aimed to evaluate the extent to which different types of national security risks occur in countries that contain marine protected areas (MPAs) globally, towards highlighting the importance of incorporating these security issues into conservation management plans.
  4. Countries hosting most global marine protected areas (MPAs) have a low to medium risk of natural disasters. However, the analyses demonstrated that about one-third of MPAs are hosted by countries with lower income economies, which are also shown to have a lower capacity to cope with natural disasters.
  5. Of interest, countries with high terrorism risk host only a small fraction of global MPAs, with lower income countries being subjected to significantly higher terrorism risk than higher income countries.
  6. Overall, the results show that the chance of a country with an MPA being subject to a national security risk is generally low. However, countries with a higher risk of violence and natural disaster have lower coping capacities and weaker economies. Thus, MPAs in such countries should incorporate the risk of national security issues into their management schemes, particularly when visitor revenue is incorporated into wildlife protection and the employment of locals.