Protected areas - Management

A study tour of restoration projects was conducted for seven participants from four Polynesian countries (American Samoa, Niue, Samoa and Tonga) between March 20 and 27, 2015 to Auckland, New Zealand. All participants are involved in restoration projects in their home country, most funded under the GEF-PAS "Prevention, control and management of invasive alien species in the Pacific Islands" Project. Seven restoration sites were visited, including 3 island sites and 4 mainland sites.

The Tokelau Islands consist of three atolls (Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo) approximately 500 km north of Western Samoa. Their numerous islets are formed mainly of coral sand and rubble with no standing freshwater. Sixty-one plant species have been recorded, 13 of these being introduced and 10 being adventives. There are three vegetation zones, the beach, the beach-crest, and the interior coconut/fern zone with the physiognomy of a humid tropical forest. Marine invertebrates have not been studied.

The aim of this consultancy is to prepare a broad analysis of legal and institutional options for the establishment and management of Conservation Areas in fourteen independent Pacific Island countries. The full terms of reference for the consultancy are annexed at Appendix 1.

Life on Earth is disappearing fast and will continue to do so unless urgent action is taken. Well designed and effectively managed systems of protected areas are a vital tool for reducing biodiversity loss while delivering environmental goods and services that underpin sustainable development. There are currently over 130,000 protected areas worldwide, covering around 13.9 % of the Earth’s land surface and 5.9 % of the territorial marine surface. These areas represent a tremendous resource for conserving biodiversity and for protecting vital ecosystem services.

Abstract Global changes, from habitat loss and invasive species to anthropogenic climate change, have initiated the sixth great mass extinction event in Earth's history. As species become threatened and vanish, so too do the broader ecosystems and myriad benefits to human well-being that depend upon biodiversity. Bringing an end to global biodiversity loss requires that limited available resources be guided to those regions that need it most. The biodiversity hotspots do this based on the conservation planning principles of irreplaceability and vulnerability.