The effectiveness of a Mesoamerican ‘paper park’ in conserving cloud forest avifauna
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- Martin, T.E. & Blackburn, G.A. Biodivers Conserv (2009) 18: 3841. doi:10.1007/s10531-009-9683-6
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Mesoamerican cloud forests are important centres of biodiversity, but are under severe pressure from anthropogenic activities. Protected areas have been established to conserve remaining areas of this habitat, but it is debatable how effective these under-resourced ‘paper parks’ are in preserving biodiversity. This study investigates this issue utilising species-level data, examining composition of avifaunal communities within an undermanaged cloud forest park. Research was conducted in the Parque Nacional Cusuco, North–West Honduras. Results indicate that overall avian species richness is greater in the less heavily protected buffer zone than the nominally inviolate core zone. However, core zone areas are shown to be effective in preserving threatened and range-restricted species. Results therefore demonstrate that buffer zone forest has a comparably reduced conservation value, but the overall park system appears to be effective in conserving the core zone. These findings should be taken into account when considering extensions to protected area networks in Mesoamerica.