Protected Areas effects on biodiversity: a test using bird data that hopefully will give ideas for much more studies to come

Paul Caplat based on reviews by Willson Gaul and 1 anonymous reviewer

A recommendation of:
Victor Cazalis, Soumaya Belghali, Ana S.L. Rodrigues. Using a large-scale biodiversity monitoring dataset to test the effectiveness of protected areas at conserving North-American breeding birds (2019), bioRxiv, 433037, ver. 4 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Ecology. 10.1101/433037
Submitted: 04 October 2018, Recommended: 05 April 2019
Cite this recommendation as:
Paul Caplat (2019) Protected Areas effects on biodiversity: a test using bird data that hopefully will give ideas for much more studies to come. Peer Community in Ecology, 100018. 10.24072/pci.ecology.100018

In the face of worldwide declines in biodiversity, evaluating the effectiveness of conservation practices is an absolute necessity. Protected Areas (PA) are a key tool for conservation, and the question “Are PA effective” has been on many a research agenda, as the introduction to this preprint will no doubt convince you. A challenge we face is that, until now, few studies have been explicitly designed to evaluate PA, and despite the rise of meta-analyses on the topic, our capacity to quantify their effect on biodiversity remains limited.
This study by Cazalis et al. [1] uses the rich dataset of the North-American Breeding Bird Survey and a sound paired design to investigate how PA change bird assemblages. The methodological care brought to the study in itself is worth the read, and the results are insightful. I will not spoil too much by revealing here that things are “complicated”, and that effects – or lack thereof – depend on the type of ecosystem, and the type of species considered.
If you are interested in conservation, bird communities, species life-history, or like beautiful plots: go and read it.

References

[1] Cazalis, V., Belghali, S., & Rodrigues, A. S. (2019). Using a large-scale biodiversity monitoring dataset to test the effectiveness of protected areas at conserving North-American breeding birds. bioRxiv, 433037, ver. 4 peer-reviewed and recommended by PCI Ecology. doi: 10.1101/433037