Protected Areas and Landscape Sustainability

A major theme of this course is how to ensure landscape sustainability by protecting ecosystem services (which includes biodiversity) over an assemblage of landscapes. While we recognize that landscapes change, and in many cases degrade ecologically and socially (think Selman’s disconnection and reconnection), an aggregate level of ecosystem/landscape services (supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural) must be maintained across large landscapes or regions if any meaningful vision of sustainability is to be attained. This project goes to the question of: what is, or should be, the role of protected areas in this agenda? For this essay, please read three articles. In no particular order they are: A classic article by Myers, Mittemeier, Mittemeier, da Fonseca, and Kent (2000) on biodiversity hotspots. This article uses a “hotspot” strategy to target conservation resources. One question I have with hotspot maps is what about the rest of the world? But then maybe I am being an idealist about the conservation resources available.

A proposal for adaptive management by Lawler (2009) that I wish I had written. It talks about strategies for protected areas in the face of climate change. A review article by Watson, Dudley, Segan, and Hockings (2014). This is a very good article about the state of practice for protected areas. Of particular interest is how governments do or do not support protected areas. As a review article there are over 90 references you may want to drill into. Take a close look at the reference list. I would like you to write a 1200 to 1500-word essay reflecting on landscape sustainability. My contention is that there is an important role for protected areas in landscape sustainability, hence the readings. You do not need to agree with this premise. Use these articles as a springboard to explore a question of interest you have about protected areas. (You do not need to focus your essay precisely on these three readings.) This is an intentionally open-ended charge – it is my hope that you can make it relevant to wildlife conservation. You can apply this question to a place you are interested in: you can take a specific local or global perspective. Alternatively, you might consider the implications of policy positions, such as the recent Paris Climate talks ( (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) or the current and perilous status of the Land and Water Conservation Fund ( (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) or the current administration’s retreat on national monuments (google it — there’s fresh news every week). There is no requirement to bring in a set number of new resources other than those that inform your essay. Feel free to tie in themes or case studies from our course. Please do be sure to use citations where appropriate.