Two researchers in the Geography department have recently published an article, alongside their team of researchers outside of the university, on private protected areas (PPA) in the cloud forests of Peru, specifically questioning the effectiveness of community PPA.
Ellen Delgado Florian (graduate student), Professor Fausto Sarmiento, and a team of researchers studied the effectiveness of four of the most historic communal PPA in the Amazon in terms of design, management, and ecological integrity. These aspects allowed them to evaluate the overall effectiveness of PPA and to generate a Composite Effectiveness Index (CEI). They conducted a large-scale spatial analysis using Remote Sensing, GIS, and participative cartography with local communities. A Design Effectiveness Index was calculated considering two sub-indices: surface representativeness (CIs) and elevation representativeness (CIe). The CIs was calculated by dividing the surface area of the PPA with respect to the total PPA surface area of Amazonas.
Currently, PPA has management systems with average effectiveness. The main management limitations are related to budget, planning, equipment, personnel for monitoring and surveillance, as well as threat control. Three of the four PPA evaluated (Copallín, Huaylla Belén-Colcamar, and Tilacancha) have an effective design, are mostly located in watersheds above 2500 m.a.s.l. and have an average area of 2500 ha. The ecological integrity assessment indicates lower levels of the transformed area within the PPA boundaries and higher levels in the surrounding areas as a result of agricultural and livestock development activities.
Based on their findings, the researchers can say that the Private Community Conservation Areas in the Peruvian cloud forest have been effective in protecting the natural cover. Their design and location seek mainly to protect important vegetation associated with water supply. However, the ACP's surroundings are suffering a drastic landcover change process due to cattle ranching activities. This highlights the need for PPA to receive support to improve their management systems and extend their reach beyond their boundaries. The implementation of ongoing monitoring systems that include participatory spatial analysis in the monitoring processes of Privately Protected Areas is imperative as it contributes to the understanding of land use and local conservation management.
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