Land use change around protected areas: Management to balance human needs and ecological function

Ruth DeFries, Andrew Hansen, B. L. Turner, Robin Reid, Jianguo Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

370 Scopus citations


Protected areas throughout the world are key for conserving biodiversity, and land use is key for providing food, fiber, and other ecosystem services essential for human sustenance. As land use change isolates protected areas from their surrounding landscapes, the challenge is to identify management opportunities that maintain ecological function while minimizing restrictions on human land use. Building on the case studies in this Invited Feature and on ecological principles, we identify opportunities for regional land management that maintain both ecological function in protected areas and human land use options, including preserving crucial habitats and migration corridors, and reducing dependence of local human populations on protected area resources. Identification of appropriate and effective management opportunities depends on clear definitions of: (1) the biodiversity attributes of concern; (2) landscape connections to delineate particular locations with strong ecological interactions between the protected area and its surrounding landscape; and (3) socioeconomic dynamics that determine current and future use of land resources in and around the protected area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1038
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Connectivity
  • Greater ecosystem
  • Land use change
  • Protected areas
  • Regional management
  • Small loss-big gain opportunities
  • Socioeconomic dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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