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J Environ Manage. 2014 Dec 15;146:543-551. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.05.040. Epub 2014 Sep 11.

Ecosystem services-based SWOT analysis of protected areas for conservation strategies.

Author information

1
Centre of Molecular and Environmental Biology, University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 710-057 Braga, Portugal; Institute for Alpine Environment, EURAC Research, Viale Druso 1, 39100 Bolzano, Italy. Electronic address: scolozzi.rocco@gmail.com.
2
Institute for Alpine Environment, EURAC Research, Viale Druso 1, 39100 Bolzano, Italy; Institute of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Sternwartestr. 15, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria. Electronic address: Uta.Schirpke@eurac.edu.
3
Department of Earth, Life and Environment Science, University of Urbino "Carlo Bo", Campus Scientifico "E. Mattei", 61029 Urbino, Italy. Electronic address: elisa.morri@uniurb.it.
4
University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences, PO Box 27, Latokartanonkaari 7, Helsinki, Finland. Electronic address: dalia.damato@helsinki.fi.
5
Department of Earth, Life and Environment Science, University of Urbino "Carlo Bo", Campus Scientifico "E. Mattei", 61029 Urbino, Italy. Electronic address: riccardo.santolini@uniurb.it.

Abstract

An ecosystem services-based SWOT analysis is proposed in order to identify and quantify internal and external factors supporting or threatening the conservation effectiveness of protected areas. The proposed approach concerns both the ecological and the social perspective. Strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats were evaluated based on 12 selected environmental and socio-economic indicators for all terrestrial Italian protected areas, belonging to the Natura 2000 network, and for their 5-km buffer area. The indicators, used as criteria within a multi-criteria assessment, include: core area, cost-distance between protected areas, changes in ecosystem services values, intensification of land use, and urbanization. The results were aggregated for three biogeographical regions, Alpine, Continental, and Mediterranean, indicating that Alpine sites have more opportunities and strengths than Continental and Mediterranean sites. The results call attention to where connectivity and land-use changes may have stronger influence on protected areas, in particular, whereas urbanization or intensification of agriculture may hamper conservation goals of protected areas. The proposed SWOT analysis provides helpful information for a multiple scale perspective and for identifying conservation priorities and for defining management strategies to assure biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision.

KEYWORDS:

Biodiversity; Conservation; Land-use change; Landscape management; Natura 2000 network; Strategic planning

PMID:
25218331
DOI:
10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.05.040
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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