Increasing transparency and accountability in global protected and conserved area reporting

Elsevier, One Earth, Volume 7, 15 March 2024
Cook C.N., Lemieux C.J., Golden Kroner R.

The commitment to protect 30% of the Earth by 2030 will create an unprecedented expansion of area-based conservation through both protected and conserved areas. Yet, there is still significant uncertainty about how to achieve this goal, including how to integrate conserved areas into the area-based conservation paradigm. To maximize the benefits to biodiversity, it is essential that we have tools to track how protected and conserved areas are implemented over time. Here, we present a conceptual framework for describing and monitoring changes to protected and conserved areas, demonstrating its use by documenting examples of changes to formally recognized conserved areas and hundreds of examples of protected areas being converted to conserved areas (42% of all conserved areas). We reveal how changes to protected and conserved Areas may interact to affect area-based conservation and provide a system for classifying and monitoring such changes. This transparency and accountability in monitoring and reporting on area-based conservation will be essential to inform our understanding of global conservation progress.