Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 231–236 | Cite as

Evaluating the ecological performance of protected areas

  • Bernard W. T. Coetzee
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Biodiversity protection and reserves


While protected areas are a key component of the global conservation strategy, quantitative demonstrations of their positive ecological performance, meaning the extent to which they conserve the biodiversity features they were designated for, is broadly lacking. This commentary presents the emerging field of impact of evaluation of protected areas, with a focus on establishing their ecological performance. It highlights recent advances in protected area evaluations and explores the challenges remaining in developing a more credible evidence base to demonstrate the biodiversity conservation benefits of protected areas.


Conservation evidence Counterfactual Impact evaluation Protected area efficacy 



Kevin Gaston, Steven Chown and Melodie McGeoch are thanked for discussion and comments by Kristi Maciejewski improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Organization for Tropical Studies, Scientific ServicesSkukuzaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Global Change and Sustainability Research InstituteUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburg, WITSSouth Africa

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