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2019-10-30 | Research Brief

Habitat Fragmentation and Systematic Conservation Planning in Low-income Countries

Albers, Heidi J., Lokina, Razack., Robinson, Elizabeth J Z & Kreinbrink. (2019). Habitat Fragmentation and Systematic Conservation Planning in Low-income Countries.
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Parks and nature reserves created for conservation often become forest islands in a matrix of other land uses. Their species populations often decline due to this forest fragmentation. There is increasing evidence that conservation outside of reserves is required to slow biodiversity loss. This evidence, coupled with the species decline due to fragmentation, implies that conservation policies require a landscape perspective that includes the land in between protected areas. In low-income countries, however, these “matrix” areas often support rural people’s livelihoods. Landscape conservation policies, then, must reflect rural people’s needs, decisions, and institutions in addition to ecosystem priorities. Despite this reality, systematic conservation planning rarely considers the rural people’s response to reserves until after areas are chosen for conservation based on ecological characteristics. In addition, there has been little economic analysis of the causes of habitat fragmentation.