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Effect of legal protection and management of protected areas at preventing land development: a Spanish case study

AuthorsRodríguez-Rodríguez, David ; Martínez Vega, Javier
KeywordsNatura 2000 site
Land use-land cover
BACI design
Issue Date2018
CitationRegional Environmental Change, 26 june 2018
AbstractProtected areas are entrusted long-term biodiversity conservation, but measures of their effectiveness are limited, methodologically diverse and, sometimes, of improvable accuracy. Using a semi-experimental BACI research design, this study assesses the environmental effectiveness of two highly related multiple-use protected area (PA) categories of European relevance at preventing land development: Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). The non-overlapping SCI and SAC polygon networks of a northern Spanish region (Navarra) were used as the best possible case studies in the country because their main difference is implementation of active management (in the case of SACs). One kilometre outer buffer areas were created to serve as controls for each of the two PA networks. Three spatial-statistical models that progessively consider exclusion areas according to additional land protection legislation and biophysical covariates were tested to maximise their accurateness. Percentual increases of land development were compared for each of the four groups: SCIs, SCI-Buffers, SACs and SAC-Buffers, using Corine Land Cover (CLC) data from 2006 and 2012. Results show that SACs have been fully effective at preventing land development in the Navarra region whereas some exceptional development occurred in SCIs, even though their biophysical characteristics made them less prone to development than their buffer areas. Additional legislation seems to slightly add to protection inside PAs and provides clear protection to surrounding buffer areas. Residential uses were minor among the new artificial uses around Navarra’s PAs.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-018-1369-8
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