AMBIO - Mammal recovery inside and outside terrestrial protected areas


April 10, 2024 - Katherine Magoulick , <> , <>


Protected areas are a key component of global conservation, and the world is aiming to increase protected areas to cover 30% of land and water through the 30 × 30 Initiative under the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. However, factors affecting their success or failure in regard to promoting mammal population recovery are not well studied, particularly using quantitative approaches comparing across diverse taxa, biomes, and countries. To better understand how protected areas contribute to mammalian recovery, we conducted an analysis of 2706 mammal populations both inside and outside of protected areas worldwide. We calculated the annual percent change of mammal populations within and outside of terrestrial protected areas and examined the relationship between the percent change and a suite of human and natural characteristics including biome, region, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) protected area category, IUCN Red List classification, and taxonomic order. Our results show that overall mammal populations inside and outside of protected areas are relatively stable. It appears that Threatened mammals are doing better inside of protected areas than outside, whereas the opposite is true for species of least concern and Near Threatened species. We also found significant population increases in protected areas classified as category III and significant population decreases in protected and unprotected areas throughout Oceania. Our results demonstrate that terrestrial protected areas can be an important approach for mammalian recovery and conservation.



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