Representation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in East Africa's protected area network.

Affiliation

State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, People's Republic of China. [Email]

Abstract

The dramatic increase in anthropogenic activity severely threatens the biodiversity and life-support services that underpin human well-being. The broadened focus of protecting ecosystem services (ESs) better aligns the interests of people and biodiversity conservation. In this study, we used species richness as a surrogate for biodiversity and mapped the key ESs in East Africa with the goal to assess the spatial congruence between biodiversity and ESs, and evaluate the representation of current protected areas (PAs) network for biodiversity and ESs. The results showed that PAs well represented for species richness and regulating services but underrepresented for provisioning services. The PAs network occupies 10.96% of East Africa's land surface, and captures 20.62-26.37% of conservation priorities for vertebrate and plant species. It encompasses more than 16.23% of priority areas for three regulating services, but only 6.17% and 5.22% for crop and livestock production, respectively. Strong correlations and high overlaps exist between species richness and regulating services, particularly for carbon storage, water yield and plants. Thus, we believe that actions taken to conserve biodiversity also will protect certain ESs, which in turn will create new incentives and funding sources for the conservation of biodiversity. Overall, our results have wide-ranging policy implications and can be used to optimize conservation strategies for both biodiversity and multiple ESs in East Africa.

Keywords

Biodiversity,Conservation priority area,East Africa,Ecosystem management,Ecosystem services,Protected areas (PAs),

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