It’s been a long time coming (since my PhD days with my esteemed co-authors and good friends) but I am pleased to announce the launch of a global conservation planning database. We demonstrate its value in learning from existing plans in our paper published in Biological Conservation.
Given international policy targets and growing recognition of a biodiversity crisis, the number and total extent of protected areas is set to increase significantly in the next few decades. To ensure this planned expansion is effective in halting biodiversity loss, it is critical that new protected areas (and other conservation actions) are well designed and effectively implemented.
Systematic conservation planning (SCP), which takes into account ecological and socioeconomic aspects of conservation, is regarded as best practice for identifying conservation priorities and has been widely used to design protected area systems. Applications of SCP cover terrestrial, freshwater and marine realms, including planning initiatives in developed and developing countries across the world.
Over the last three decades, hundreds of SCP studies have been produced, yet there is no structured or reliable way of finding information on SCP methods, trends, and progress. This rapid growth in SCP literature inhibits distillation of best practices and understanding of trends in methods and applications. Furthermore, bridging the well-recognized gap between SCP research and implementation requires systematic and continuous monitoring of plan development and implementation.
The Conservation Planning Database project aims to create a global database to help track the development, implementation, and impact of SCP applications, and improve scholarship in the field. Consolidating a global database can play a critical role in advancing SCP theory and practice, thus facilitating more effective area-based conservation initiatives with real benefits for biodiversity and human well-being.