Limitations of Protected Areas Zoning in Mediterranean Cultural Landscapes Under the Ecosystem Services Approach

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Protected areas have been created worldwide to set apart certain areas from land-use transformation. The biodiversity and ecosystems protected by these areas deliver several ecosystem services. Recently, besides increasing global protected coverage, there has been a growing demand to assess the adequacy of protected areas management. In this study, we assessed how the management of protected areas can deal with ecosystem services taking as example the Doñana and Sierra Nevada protected areas (Spain). For that aim we analyzed the protected area management plans, mapped seven ecosystem services, and assessed how they are affected by protected area zoning and land-use intensity. We found that although provisioning and cultural services are included in the management plans of the protected areas under a different terminology, regulating services are barely addressed. Ecosystem service delivery varies depending on several factors including the protection category of the protected areas (protection intensity), land-use intensity and geomorphological factors, among others. Therefore, we discuss that integrating ecosystem services in protected area management requires dealing with complexity, necessitating the establishment of specific goals for ecosystem service delivery, which include ecosystem service synergies and trade-offs.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1202-1215
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 11.2014
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Sustainability Science - cultural landscapes, ecosystem service bundles, mapping, social-ecological system, trade-offs