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NPAPSP Protected Areas Analysis Consortium: Lead consultant: Jan Meerman.

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Presentation on theme: "NPAPSP Protected Areas Analysis Consortium: Lead consultant: Jan Meerman."— Presentation transcript:

1 NPAPSP Protected Areas Analysis Consortium: Lead consultant: Jan Meerman

2 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis There exist a total of 94 protected areas in Belize (including archaeological reserves and accepted private reserves). Several of these reserves, particularly in the Marine realm have gazetted management zonation. When these zones are taking into account the number of “management units” increases to 115. Many of these protected areas are really areas for the management of extractive resources (Forest Reserves and Marine Reserves) AcresHectares Land5,467,8402,212,760 Territorial Sea4,609,2301,865,300 Exclusive Economic Zone3,968,1901,605,880 Total National Territory14,045,2605,683,940

3 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis The amount of the national territory under some form of conservation management is 26 %. AcresHectares Land5,467,8402,212,760 Territorial Sea4,609,2301,865,300 Exclusive Economic Zone3,968,1901,605,880 Total National Territory14,045,2605,683,940

4 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis For the terrestrial part the area under conservation is 36 %. Within the terrestrial protected areas, the extractive reserves form the largest component. The marine realm, compared with the terrestrial realm is largely un-protected. Only 14 % is protected and the largest part of that again as extractive reserves.

5 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis To make a first analysis of this existing system of protected areas, a Site scoring system including key Protected Areas Systems characteristics was developed (see separate pfd file). Incorporated characteristics include those of ecological, cultural, social, resource conservation, and economic value including environmental services The various consortium members conducted the scoring exercise for the 94 protected areas identified here. The prioritization of the Protected Areas system in this way provides a credible way to prioritize resource allocation, both human and financial. The site scoring system provided three different types of output: 1.Scoring based on biophysical criteria 2.Scoring based on management and land use criteria 3.Scoring based on the combination of biophysical, management and land use criteria

6 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis Site Scoring System Top 10 protected areas according to a ranking system incorporating Biophysical as well as Management and Land use criteria gives the following results: Aguacaliente Wildlife Sanctuary, Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, Community Baboon Sanctuary, Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Glovers Reef Marine Reserve, Halfmoon Caye Natural Monument, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area, Shipstern Nature Reserve and Runaway Creek Private Reserve. Note that there are 4 Private Protected Areas in this top category!

7 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis Gap Analysis A Gap Analysis tries to identify gaps in an existing system. In a protected areas gap analysis, this would translate to the question; “which conservation features (species, ecosystems, features or other) are not met within the existing protected areas system. An ecosystem is the complex of living organisms, their physical environment, and all their interrelationships in a particular unit of space. Since vegetation patterns are at the base of the biological environment. Vegetation patterns have been chosen as “proxy” for ecosystems. And since actual distribution patterns and data for specific species are scarce and generally incomplete, ecosystems were been taken as a proxy for biodiversity patterns.

8 Setting of conservation targets Underlying thought is that a minimum area is required for each habitat/ecosystem. The IUCN recommends a minimum of 10% under protection for each habitat. Theoretically, this would enable the survival of 70% of the extant species. The ecoregional planning initiative used a minimum of 30% which would allow the survival of > 80% of the species

9 Setting of conservation targets

10 The 10% - 30% targets are too arbitrary. There are certain ecosystems that would require more protection than just %. For example, a very rare ecosystem occurring only on 5 locations with a combined cover of 2000 acres is not served with 10 or even 30 % protection. For such ecosystems, the target should be much higher, even 100%. Also, there are ecosystems that provide vital environmental services; these too need a higher target. Some ecosystems are not suitable for any type of development and by default are best preserved. Consequently they can be identified as conservation targets. Other important functions could also lead to a higher target setting. Throughout a minimum target setting of 20% and a maximum setting of 95% was maintained.

11 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis Gap Analysis: Criteria Slope: Areas with steep slopes are unsuitable for development and have high erosion risks. Rarity: Ecosystems with coverage of < 5,000 acres were considered “rare”. Environmental Services: In some cases these are particularly pronounced. Example: Coastal fringe mangroves and Riverine mangroves (erosion control, nurseries). Timber: Some forest types are more important for timber production than others. Fisheries: Ecosystems particularly important for fisheries are covered here. Endemic species: Belize is not particularly rich in endemic species. However there seem to be 2 ecosystems that harbor the bulk of the endemic species (Steep Karts hills and Savanna’s) Last of the wild: Large contiguous areas of more or less intact habitat. Low agricultural value: Areas with very low agricultural value are less suitable for agricultural development. Wetlands: Wetlands are considered important locations for biodiversity and water control.

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13 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis Gap Analysis: Location of currently under-represented ecosystems

14 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis MARXAN planning tool While the site scoring system evaluates the existing protected areas system, there is the need for an analysis of management priorities. Priorities can be based on a multitude of targets. With the large variety of conservation targets there is a need to use a Conservation Planning Optimization Tool. MARXAN is software that delivers decision support for reserve system design. MARXAN finds reasonably efficient solutions to the problem of selecting a system of spatially cohesive sites that meet a suite of biodiversity targets. Given reasonably uniform data on species, habitats and/or other relevant biodiversity features and surrogates for a number of planning units MARXAN minimizes the cost while meeting user- defined targets.

15 Marxan analysis: Human footprint: Before continuing with the Marxan analysis itself, an analysis needed to be made of a human needs or human footprint. Conservation planning needs to look at the human footprint on the landscape. Essentially, the question needs to be asked: which are the areas where human needs come first. Example: Human footprint by Hugo Ramos (WCS)

16 Communities Lists all the communities in Belize and assigns 5 km buffers around them. In the case of villages nearly entirely dependant on agriculture, a 7km buffer was assigned. (Sources: CSO & Meerman & Clabaugh, 2004: Biodiversity and Environmental Research Data System (BERDS)). Buffer size based on some empirical evidence on the readiness of people to establish economic activities near their place of settlement. Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

17 Poverty assessment Provides a ranking per district based on the assumption that poor communities are more dependant on natural resources than more affluent communities. (source: CSO). In the case of Belize, the Toledo district has a markedly higher poverty index than any of the other districts. Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

18 Main Roads All the main roads (paved or otherwise) were assigned 5km buffers (source: Meerman & Clabaugh, 2004: Biodiversity and Environmental Research Data System (BERDS)). This again based on the readiness of people to establish economic activities near main roads. This 5 km buffer probably too wide in narrow valleys, such as locally along the Hummingbird highway. Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

19 Other Roads All other roads were assigned 2 km buffers (source: Meerman & Clabaugh, 2004: Biodiversity and Environmental Research Data System (BERDS)). Buffer size arbitrary but in relation to the buffer size of the main roads. Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

20 Tracks Smaller tracks and trails were assigned 500m buffers (forest trails left out especially in areas where these trails serve management purposes) (source: Meerman & Clabaugh, 2004: Biodiversity and Environmental Research Data System (BERDS)). Buffer size arbitrary but in relation to the buffer size of the main roads. Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

21 Agriculture Existing Agriculture and aquaculture in all its forms based on the 2005 ecosystems map (Meerman, 2005). Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

22 Good soil Identified as polygons larger than 1000 acres with agricultural land value class 1 and 2 based on King et al Not all this “good soil” is currently occupied but this layer is important since it indicates the potential for upcoming pressure. Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

23 Fire Risk Based on the assumption that wildfires present a risk for biodiversity conservation. Takes into account only high risk classes = highest risk. (source: Meerman & Clabaugh, 2004: Biodiversity and Environmental Research Data System (BERDS)). Fire risk is a threat but some ecosystems in Belize are the result of centuries of human induced fires and as such fire is a difficult factor in calculating the human footprint. The value of fire risk is therefore smaller than for the other footprints (Maximum hexagon value 100) Calculation of footprint

24 Coastal developments Various Coastal Developments (based on 19 Oct 2004 Marine Risk Assessment Workshop). Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

25 Boating lanes Skiff and boating lanes. Adapted from State of the Coastal Zone Report Map 4. Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

26 Incursions For the terrestrial realm based on the 2004 ecosystems map (Meerman, 2005) for agricultural incursions from the Guatemalan sided and assigned a 4 km buffer. Other incursions such as hunting and xate harvesting were not mapped since they also occur away from the border at the hands of Belizeans and are difficult to quantify. Also includes actual penetration of Guatemalan and Honduran fishermen on the marine side based on 19 Oct 2004 Marine Risk Assessment Workshop. Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

27 Trawling Shrimp trawling (based on 19 Oct 2004 Marine Risk Assessment Workshop). Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

28 Siltation Agricultural runoff in south (based on 19 Oct 2004 Marine Risk Assessment Workshop). Maximum hexagon value Calculation of footprint

29 Coral resilience Resilience of Coral Reef to coral bleaching. Based on data provided by the consortium (level 2 & 3 resilience). This data is not really a cost but for practical purposes it has been introduced as a “negative” cost. In this way more resilient reefs have more chance of being selected in the analysis. Hexagon value always negative with a maximum of Calculation of footprint

30 Human Footprint:

31 MARXAN planning tool MARXAN is software that delivers decision support for reserve system design. MARXAN finds reasonably efficient solutions to the problem of selecting a system of spatially cohesive sites that meet a suite of biodiversity targets. Given reasonably uniform data on species, habitats and/or other relevant biodiversity features and surrogates for a number of planning units MARXAN minimizes the cost while meeting user-defined targets. In the case of this analysis a total of 153 targets were defined. Specific goals were set for each of these In the case of ecosystems, these are the same as used in the gap analysis These goals were heavily influenced by their “environmental services” Also biodiversity data incorporated.

32 Biodiversity Data Problem with existing biodiversity data is that we do not have sufficient spatially specific data to include them in a spatial analysis such as Marxan The Example of Jaguar data here clearly shows how the “distribution” does not really reflect the actual distribution as we all know it. Including such data would skew the analysis toward the selection of sites of which we have spatial data. Meanwhile, other areas (which may be more important) will be left out

33 Biodiversity Data Similar example of Ocelated Turkey data equally shows how the “distribution” does not really reflect the actual distribution as we all know it. While incorporation of such data in the Marxan analysis was not possible, this does not imply they should be discounted

34 Biodiversity Data A good example of very important Biodiversity data that can not be discounted is the measured difference in the populations of Jaguars Three research sites gave different population densities for this species. Ultimately data such as these need to be included during final PA planning. Unfortunately, there is very little data of this quality.

35 Biodiversity data incorporated Mostly seabird colonies (which have discrete spatial attributes), Marine target species and some endemic species (marked with “E”). In general, only biodiversity data were included of which sufficient geo-referenced data were available. Birds Agami Boat-billed Heron Bridled Tern Brown Noddy Brown Pelican Double-cr Cormorant Great Blue Heron Great Egret Green Heron Keel-billed Motmot Laughing Gull Least Tern Little Blue Heron Frigatebird Red-footed Booby Redish Egret Roseate Spoonbill Roseate Tern Sandwich Tern Snowy Egret Sooty Tern Tricolored Heron White Ibis American Woodstork Yellow-cr Night Heron Jabiru Scarlet Macaw Waders/ducks important wetlands Mammals Manatee Reptiles: Loggerhead Turtle Hawksbill Green Turtle Crocodylus acutus Phyllodactylus insularis (E) Amphibians Rana juliani (E) Fish Spawning sites (Lutjanidae, Serranidae) Invertebrates Epigomphus maya (E) Erpetogomphus leptophis (E) Citheracanthus meermani (E) Conch nursery sites Flora Ceratozamia robusta Zamia variegata Zamia sp nov1 (E) Zamia sp nov2 (E) Aristolochia belizensis (E) Passiflora urbaniana (E) Passiflora lancetillensis

36 Setting of other conservation targets other features were taken into consideration: 401Biological Corridor (primary) 402Biological Corridor (secondary) 403Biological Corridor (cross-boundary) 410Caves 411 Geological features (Waterfalls, Sinkholes, Natural Arch etc. 412 Historical features (Maya sites, colonial sites) 415Low land value based on King et al. 420 Suggested for protection under the SDA scheme 421Identified for protection by ESTAP

37 Results: Marxan Analysis Results: Locked option

38 Results: Marxan Analysis Results: Seeded option

39 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis: Conclusions There is no single way of looking at a protected areas system for Belize. Multiple considerations are to be taken into account Multiple ways exist to do that All of them need to be incorporated in a final implementation phase This analysis is a tool to be used in the final implementation phase

40 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis: Conclusions While Belize considers itself as having an extensive Protected Areas System, the reality is that most of that is for the management of resource use and extraction. With the current needs and expectations of the nation of Belize, such a classification of “Management” rather than “Conservation” per se, is probably a more realistic one. A revised “Protected Areas System” should focus on a management of its territory based on its attributes. Using the results of the current analysis, it will be possible to re- designate areas for improved management. This management can be for Extractive uses, areas important for economic species, Tourism, Watershed, Soil, Historical Sites, Special Features etc. etc.

41 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis: Conclusions Re-designing the Protected Areas System should lead to a merging of current protected areas reducing the current number of 115 “management units”. In many cases they could be lumped. Examples are marine reserves where Spawning Aggregations overlap with other marine reserve categories, or the Maya Mountain Block which should be made into one Protected Area with different management zonations based on actual attributes rather than on ancient boundaries. The current 115 management units are managed by three departments with a totally different outlook but also with considerably overlap and gray areas. This inefficiency would best be resolved by creating one single agency responsible for all areas of natural resource management.

42 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis: Conclusions The analysis shows many gaps outside currently existing protected areas. It will not be possible or even desirable to transfer all these lands into some protected area category. Many of the identified gaps have current uses and most of them will be on private land. Creating management regimes, in conjunction with private landowners where needed, may in many cases be sufficient. The Belize Association of Private Protected Areas could potentially fill an important role in relieving GOB of some of the conservation “burden”. Currently some of the top protected areas are Privately Managed Reserves. This illustrates the important role of Private Protected Areas Management. This role can be expanded in order to fill the gaps identified during this analysis.

43 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis: Conclusions There appears to exist a need for community managed conservation areas (Community Baboon Sanctuary, Spanish Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, Mayflower National Park, Rio Blanco National Park etc.). The main desire of these communities is to have an area of “their own” which they can exploit for tourism and recreation or even resource extraction. Principal concern seems to be that many communities feel the need to save certain areas from the ravages of development. In essence, many of the existing or prospective private protected areas come forth out the same perceived need. Aguacate Lagoon near Spanish Lookout is a good example in this aspect. Many of these current and future initiatives may not be within areas currently identified priority areas. Nevertheless, such initiatives still need encouragement and support, but some new management category may need to be created to accommodate such initiatives.

44 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis: Conclusions  Biological Corridors can be identified in the MARXAN analysis. Many are also very weak as shown in the analysis. Largely these potential biological corridors traverse private land. Incentives for landowners to maintain these corridors are needed. Again, the Belize Association of Private Protected Areas could potentially assist GOB in this important endeavor. Some areas that were identified as a true or relative priority warrant investigation. Most likely, exact data for such area are lacking. Simple Rapid Ecological Assessments could determine the real importance of such areas. When combined with a social assessment, a best management regime could be identified as well in case the area did warrant some form of conservation management.

45 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis: Conclusions The deep water ecosystems of Belize have never received any attention, consequently, little is known about them and the software could not map real areas of high importance. More data is clearly needed here. Otherwise there is considerable freedom here to position needed management areas.

46 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis: Conclusions In general there is still a lack of data that would help conservation planning and management. There is a need for a spatially enabled species database. Monitoring of biodiversity is still in its infancy, yet it will be important for the future management of conservation management areas. Sometimes monitoring is complex but sometimes it can be very simple. The apparent absence of monitoring data for bird nesting colonies was noted. Yet, this would be a relatively easy task. There exist good monitoring mechanisms for the marine realm but there is a need for a centralized monitoring database in the terrestrial realm.

47 NPAPSP Protected Area Analysis: Next Steps: These data are to be used as a planning tools in the implementation phase. Implementation of a rationalized Protected Areas System Download reports:

48 NPAPSP Protected Areas Analys Lead consultant: Jan Meerman End


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