RIEL Friday Seminar - The State of the World’s Parks? Assessing the effectiveness of protected areas.

RIEL Friday Seminar - The State of the World’s Parks? Assessing the effectiveness of protected areas.

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 10:00 to 11:00

Professor Marc Hockings 

Professor Marc Hockings is Program Director for Environmental Management in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Queensland. Professor Hockings’ research interests centre around the monitoring and evaluation of conservation management with a particular focus on protected areas.

Current projects focus on assessing biodiversity outcomes in protected areas and the use of social-ecological modelling in conservation planning and evaluation. Prior to joining the University in 2002, Professor Hockings worked for the Queensland National Parks Service, where he gained experience in diverse aspects of conservation and protected area management. 

As Vice Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, he leads the global program on Science and Management. He was the principal author of the IUCN’s best practice guidelines on evaluation of management effectiveness in protected areas. In 2008 he received the Kenton R. Miller Award for Innovation in Protected Area Sustainability for his work on management effectiveness.


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The Global Biodiversity Outlook 4 Report will be released later this year in time for the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It will conclude that the state of global biodiversity is continuing to decline, with some vertebrate populations having declined by up 30% since 1970. The declaration and management of protected areas is one of the most significant responses to the loss of biodiversity adopted by countries around the world, with sites now cover nearly 13% of land area. It is therefore critical that we both understand and enhance the effectiveness of these sites in achieving biodiversity conservation and goals that are set for them. The Convention on Biodiversity adopted an ambitions set of targets (the Aichi Targets) at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Nagoya in 2010. Target 11 calls for at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas to be conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas.

Over the past decade and a half, Marc has been working with the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas to develop and apply systems for assessing the effectiveness of management of protected areas. The principles and methods developed with IUCN have been adopted by many countries and international conventions and processes. As a consequence assessments have been undertaken in over 10000 protected areas globally. A global review of the results of available assessments presents a mixed picture with just over 20% of sites having “sound” management and 14% of sites showing serious deficiencies.

Current research is focussing on more specifically assessing biodiversity outcomes in protected areas through a global study convened by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the Species Survival Commission. 

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