Efficiently targeting resources to deter illegal activities in protected areas

Plumptre, Andrew J., Fuller, Richard A., Rwetsiba, Aggrey, Wanyama, Fredrick, Kujirakwinja, Deo, Driciru, Margaret, Nangendo, Grace, Watson, James E. M. and Possingham, Hugh P. (2014) Efficiently targeting resources to deter illegal activities in protected areas. Journal of Applied Ecology, 51 3: 714-725. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12227

Author Plumptre, Andrew J.
Fuller, Richard A.
Rwetsiba, Aggrey
Wanyama, Fredrick
Kujirakwinja, Deo
Driciru, Margaret
Nangendo, Grace
Watson, James E. M.
Possingham, Hugh P.
Title Efficiently targeting resources to deter illegal activities in protected areas
Journal name Journal of Applied Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-8901
Publication date 2014-06-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1365-2664.12227
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 51
Issue 3
Start page 714
End page 725
Total pages 12
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
1. In many countries, areas delineated for conservation purposes can only achieve their objectives if effective law enforcement occurs within them. However, there is no method currently available to allocate law enforcement effort in a way that protects species and habitats in a cost-effective manner. Law enforcement is expensive and effort is usually concentrated near the locations of patrol stations where rangers are based. This hampers effective conservation, particularly in large protected areas, or regions with limited enforcement capacity.
2. Using the spatial planning tool Marxan, we demonstrate a method for prioritizing law enforcement in a globally important conservation landscape (the Greater Virunga Landscape, GVL, in central Africa) using data on the spatial distribution of illegal activities and conservation features within the landscape.
3. Our analysis of current patrol data shows that law enforcement activity is inadequate with only 22% of the landscape being effectively patrolled and most of this activity occurring within 3 km of a patrol post. We show that the current patrol effort does not deter illegal activities beyond this distance.
4. We discover that when we account for the costs of effective patrolling and set targets for covering key species populations and habitats, we can reduce the costs of meeting all conservation targets in the landscape by 63%, to $2·2–3·0 million USD, relative to the cost of patrolling the entire landscape. This cost is well within the current expenditure of approximately $5·9 million USD for the GVL but would better target effort from both patrol posts and mobile patrol units in the landscape.
5. Synthesis and applications. Our results demonstrate a method that can be used to plan enforcement patrolling, resulting in more cost-efficient prevention of illegal activities in a way that is targeted at halting declines in species of conservation concern.
Keyword Costing ranger patrols
Law enforcement effectiveness
Planning patrol effort
Threats mapping
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Mon, 19 May 2014, 21:14:46 EST by Dr Richard Fuller on behalf of School of Biological Sciences