Evaluating protected area effectiveness using bird lists in the Australian Wet Tropics

Barnes, Megan, Szabo, Judit K., Morris, William K. and Possingham, Hugh (2015) Evaluating protected area effectiveness using bird lists in the Australian Wet Tropics. Diversity and Distributions, 21 4: 368-378. doi:10.1111/ddi.12274


Author Barnes, Megan
Szabo, Judit K.
Morris, William K.
Possingham, Hugh
Title Evaluating protected area effectiveness using bird lists in the Australian Wet Tropics
Journal name Diversity and Distributions   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1472-4642
1366-9516
Publication date 2015-04-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ddi.12274
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 21
Issue 4
Start page 368
End page 378
Total pages 11
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Abstract AimProtected areas underpin many global conservation efforts. However, it is often unclear whether they are effective in maintaining their biodiversity values, both absolutely, and also relative to other conservation actions or land uses. Longitudinal population data are critical for determining protected area performance robustly, but such data are rare. As such, there is often insufficient information with which to make adequate, informed decisions for policy and management. Conversely, informally collected data, such as species lists, are common, especially for birds, and they are often the only source of historical data. The aim of this study was to use list data to evaluate the contribution of protected areas to the conservation of endemic birds.
Formatted abstract
Aim Protected areas underpin many global conservation efforts. However, it is often unclear whether they are effective in maintaining their biodiversity values, both absolutely, and also relative to other conservation actions or land uses. Longitudinal population data are critical for determining protected area performance robustly, but such data are rare. As such, there is often insufficient information with which to make adequate, informed decisions for policy and management. Conversely, informally collected data, such as species lists, are common, especially for birds, and they are often the only source of historical data. The aim of this study was to use list data to evaluate the contribution of protected areas to the conservation of endemic birds.

Location 
Wet Tropics bioregion of Queensland, Australia.

Methods 
We used a list-length analysis (LLA), a recently developed approach. We estimate trends in species populations with a Bayesian logistic regression to infer bird presence from non-standardized volunteer-collected bird surveys from the New Atlas of Australian Birds that were conducted both inside and outside protected areas.

Results 
Overall, the prevalence of the majority of wet tropics endemics (18 of 21) has been stable since 1998. Sixteen species were more likely to be found within protected areas, two were more likely to be recorded outside, and three showed little difference. However, there was no difference in trends in prevalence between protected and unprotected areas for all but one endemic species.

Main conclusions 
Where formal data collection is too expensive or time consuming, it may still be possible to inform decision-making when citizen-collected species list data are available. In the Wet Tropics, our results suggest that for the majority of the species, protected areas may contain better habitat than unprotected areas, but that birds inside protected areas are not significantly better off through time than birds outside protected areas, as long as forest outside protected areas remains intact.
Keyword Australian Wet Tropics
Birds
Citizen science
Conservation evaluation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 3 November 2014

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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