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Trends Ecol Evol. 2013 May;28(5):261-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.01.017. Epub 2013 Feb 22.

Does research help to safeguard protected areas?

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Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Cairns, QLD 4878, Australia.


Although many protected areas are foci for scientific research, they also face growing threats from illegal encroachment and overharvesting. Does the presence of field researchers help to limit such threats? Although evidence is largely anecdotal, researchers do appear to provide some protective effects, both actively (such as by deterring poachers) and passively (such as by benefiting local communities economically and thereby generating support for protected areas). However, much remains unknown about the generality and impacts of such benefits. A key priority is to develop a better understanding of the advantages and limitations of field research for aiding protected areas and their biodiversity.

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