Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Distribution and connectivity of protected areas in the Americas facilitates transboundary conservation

Citation

Thornton, Daniel; Branch, Lyn; Murray, Dennis (2019), Distribution and connectivity of protected areas in the Americas facilitates transboundary conservation , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.05qfttdz5

Abstract

Large-scale anthropogenic changes to landscapes will cause species to move and shift their ranges against a backdrop of international political boundaries. Transboundary conservation efforts are therefore key to preserving intact and connected landscapes, particularly if such efforts can be implemented within the framework of protected area networks that provide for resiliency and persistence in the face of threats such as climate change. We studied the distribution, connectivity, and integrity of protected areas in regions near international borders within the Americas. We found that there is a greater proportion of land protected near vs. far from borders, with this effect extending approximately 125 km from the border. This trend was most pronounced when considering multi-use categories of protected areas in the analysis. We also found that there is greater connectivity of protected areas in border regions than more internally within countries, and relatively low rates of habitat loss within border-situated and internal protected areas. Our results indicate that protected area networks are larger and more connected if considered in a transboundary context, and that efforts to conserve species and mitigate effects of long-term stressors like climate change will be most successful when planning includes neighboring countries. Despite a relative lack of attention to transboundary conservation in the Americas, our results suggest substantial opportunities for linking landscapes via a focus on international border regions and coordination across borders in protected areas management.