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Assessing the conservation effectiveness of wetland protected areas in Northeast China

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Abstract

The evaluation of conservation effectiveness for wetland protected areas (WPAs) is essential to underpin knowledge-based conservation policies and funding decisions by government and managers. In this paper, the conservation effectiveness for 28 WPAs in Northeast China from 2000 to 2012 was quantitatively evaluated using landsat thematic mapper image data and a maximum entropy model (Maxent). The spatial distribution of conservation effectiveness and the influence of human activities on conservation effectiveness were determined by combining a landscape development intensity (LDI) index and spatial analysis in a geographical information system. The results showed that the natural wetland area of all WPAs in Northeast China declined by 11.5 % and the conservation effectiveness of most of these WPAs decreased between 2000 and 2012. A significant negative correlation between the LDI index and conservation effectiveness (r = −0.824, p < 0.01) suggested that human activities were responsible for the low conservation effectiveness of WPAs. The WPAs with the high conservation effectiveness were mainly located in the Da-Xing’an and Xiao-Xing’an Mountains, where anthropogenic activities were limited. The reduction in the conservation effectiveness of WPAs in the Songnen and Sanjiang Plains, which showed the most degradation, was due to conversion of wetlands to croplands. This research offers an efficient and effective method to evaluate the conservation effectiveness of WPAs. The results of this study will inform future ecological conservation and management of WPAs in China.

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Acknowledgments

The work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41371403 and 41401502) and Major Science and Technology Program for Water Pollution Control and Treatment (No. 2012ZX07207-004).

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Correspondence to Zongming Wang.

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Lu, C., Wang, Z., Li, L. et al. Assessing the conservation effectiveness of wetland protected areas in Northeast China. Wetlands Ecol Manage 24, 381–398 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-015-9462-y

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