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Effectiveness of nature reserve system for conserving tropical forests: a statistical evaluation of Hainan Island, China.

Wang W, Pechacek P, Zhang M, Xiao N, Zhu J, Li J - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: We used a general linear model to control for the effects of covariates (historical forest area, elevation, slope, and distance to nearest roads), which may also be correlated with the changes in forest area, to better explain the effectiveness of the reserve system.However, the simple inside-outside comparisons may overestimate the protective effect of the reserve system.Future conservation efforts should pay more attention to those sites with less challenging environmental conditions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing, China.

ABSTRACT
Evaluating the effectiveness of existing nature reserve systems for the conservation of tropical forests is an urgent task to save the remaining biodiversity. Here, we tested the effectiveness of the reserve system on Hainan Island by conducting a three-way comparison of changes in forest area in locations within the reserves, adjacent to the reserves, and far outside of the reserves. We used a general linear model to control for the effects of covariates (historical forest area, elevation, slope, and distance to nearest roads), which may also be correlated with the changes in forest area, to better explain the effectiveness of the reserve system. From 2000 to 2010, the forest area inside Hainan's nature reserve system showed an increase while adjacent unprotected areas and the wider, unprotected landscape both experienced deforestation. However, the simple inside-outside comparisons may overestimate the protective effect of the reserve system. Most nature reserves (>60%) showed increasing fragmentation. And the risk of rapid deforestation remained high at low elevations, where remaining forests tend to be easily logged and converted to commercial plantations. Future conservation efforts should pay more attention to those sites with less challenging environmental conditions.

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Nature reserve system of Hainan Island.The nature reserve system, adjacent unprotected areas (surrounding lands within 10 km of the nature reserve boundaries) and wider unprotected landscape (more than 10 km away from the nature reserve boundaries) overlaid with natural forest cover in 2010 and digital elevation model (DEM) of Hainan Island, China.
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pone-0057561-g001: Nature reserve system of Hainan Island.The nature reserve system, adjacent unprotected areas (surrounding lands within 10 km of the nature reserve boundaries) and wider unprotected landscape (more than 10 km away from the nature reserve boundaries) overlaid with natural forest cover in 2010 and digital elevation model (DEM) of Hainan Island, China.

Mentions: The study was carried out on Hainan Island (Fig. 1), which has an area of about 34,000 km2. Hainan Island is located at the northern edge of the Indo-Malayan rain forest (18°09′–20°11′ N, 108°36′–111°04′ E). The island is mountainous in the middle, and flatter in northern and coastal areas. Vegetation is diverse across the island, with a pattern of vertical zonation. In mountainous areas with high rainfall, lowland rainforest occurs below 600 m, montane and ravine rainforest occur between 600 and 1200 m, and evergreen broadleaf forest occurs above 1200 m. Small areas of dwarf mossy forest are distributed on ridges of mountain tops [29].


Effectiveness of nature reserve system for conserving tropical forests: a statistical evaluation of Hainan Island, China.

Wang W, Pechacek P, Zhang M, Xiao N, Zhu J, Li J - PLoS ONE (2013)

Nature reserve system of Hainan Island.The nature reserve system, adjacent unprotected areas (surrounding lands within 10 km of the nature reserve boundaries) and wider unprotected landscape (more than 10 km away from the nature reserve boundaries) overlaid with natural forest cover in 2010 and digital elevation model (DEM) of Hainan Island, China.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3585332&req=5

pone-0057561-g001: Nature reserve system of Hainan Island.The nature reserve system, adjacent unprotected areas (surrounding lands within 10 km of the nature reserve boundaries) and wider unprotected landscape (more than 10 km away from the nature reserve boundaries) overlaid with natural forest cover in 2010 and digital elevation model (DEM) of Hainan Island, China.
Mentions: The study was carried out on Hainan Island (Fig. 1), which has an area of about 34,000 km2. Hainan Island is located at the northern edge of the Indo-Malayan rain forest (18°09′–20°11′ N, 108°36′–111°04′ E). The island is mountainous in the middle, and flatter in northern and coastal areas. Vegetation is diverse across the island, with a pattern of vertical zonation. In mountainous areas with high rainfall, lowland rainforest occurs below 600 m, montane and ravine rainforest occur between 600 and 1200 m, and evergreen broadleaf forest occurs above 1200 m. Small areas of dwarf mossy forest are distributed on ridges of mountain tops [29].

Bottom Line: We used a general linear model to control for the effects of covariates (historical forest area, elevation, slope, and distance to nearest roads), which may also be correlated with the changes in forest area, to better explain the effectiveness of the reserve system.However, the simple inside-outside comparisons may overestimate the protective effect of the reserve system.Future conservation efforts should pay more attention to those sites with less challenging environmental conditions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing, China.

ABSTRACT
Evaluating the effectiveness of existing nature reserve systems for the conservation of tropical forests is an urgent task to save the remaining biodiversity. Here, we tested the effectiveness of the reserve system on Hainan Island by conducting a three-way comparison of changes in forest area in locations within the reserves, adjacent to the reserves, and far outside of the reserves. We used a general linear model to control for the effects of covariates (historical forest area, elevation, slope, and distance to nearest roads), which may also be correlated with the changes in forest area, to better explain the effectiveness of the reserve system. From 2000 to 2010, the forest area inside Hainan's nature reserve system showed an increase while adjacent unprotected areas and the wider, unprotected landscape both experienced deforestation. However, the simple inside-outside comparisons may overestimate the protective effect of the reserve system. Most nature reserves (>60%) showed increasing fragmentation. And the risk of rapid deforestation remained high at low elevations, where remaining forests tend to be easily logged and converted to commercial plantations. Future conservation efforts should pay more attention to those sites with less challenging environmental conditions.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus