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Protected Area Connectedness Index (PARC-Connectedness)

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2018

Coverage

Global

Availability

Data available on request

Partners

Csiro logo

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Contact point

Dr Simon Ferrier - simon.ferrier@csiro.au

Indicator description

This indicator is one of a new suite of Protected Area Representativeness and Connectedness (PARC) indices developed by CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency), working in partnership with GEO BON, GBIF and Map of Life. The indicator assesses an important element of Aichi Target 11 – i.e. the extent to which terrestrial protected areas form “well-connected systems of protected areas … integrated into the wider landscape”. This assessment is performed using a fine-scaled grid covering the entire terrestrial surface of the planet. Each protected grid-cell is scored in terms of how well connected it is to other protected cells, and to cells containing primary vegetation (habitat) in the surrounding non-protected landscape. The score obtained for each protected cell ranges between 0 and 1. PARC-connectedness for any given spatial reporting unit (e.g. IPBES region, country) is then derived by summing these scores across all protected cells within the unit, and dividing this sum by the number of protected cells, thereby expressing overall connectedness as a proportion (also ranging between 0 and 1).

Related Aichi Targets

Primary target

11

Target 11:

By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

Primary target

11

Target 11:

By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.

11

Related SDGs

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 15

GOAL 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Target 15.1| Relevant indicator

By 2020, ensure the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and drylands, in line with obligations under international agreements.

Target 15.4| Relevant indicator

By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 15

GOAL 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 15

Other related MEAs and processes

Indicator icon

IPBES Regional Assessment Chapters

Chapter 4| Official indicator

Direct and indirect drivers of change in the context of different perspectives of quality of life

Chapter 6| Official indicator

Options for governance, institutional arrangements and private and public decision-making across scales and sectors

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IPBES Regional Assessment Chapters

Indicator icon

Themes

Bip policy

Policy & conservation actions

View related indicators >
Bip terrestrial

Terrestrial habitats

View related indicators >
Bip policy
Bip terrestrial

Partners

Csiro logo

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2018

Coverage

Global

Availability

Data available on request

Indicator description

This indicator is one of a new suite of Protected Area Representativeness and Connectedness (PARC) indices developed by CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency), working in partnership with GEO BON, GBIF and Map of Life. The indicator assesses an important element of Aichi Target 11 – i.e. the extent to which terrestrial protected areas form “well-connected systems of protected areas … integrated into the wider landscape”. This assessment is performed using a fine-scaled grid covering the entire terrestrial surface of the planet. Each protected grid-cell is scored in terms of how well connected it is to other protected cells, and to cells containing primary vegetation (habitat) in the surrounding non-protected landscape. The score obtained for each protected cell ranges between 0 and 1. PARC-connectedness for any given spatial reporting unit (e.g. IPBES region, country) is then derived by summing these scores across all protected cells within the unit, and dividing this sum by the number of protected cells, thereby expressing overall connectedness as a proportion (also ranging between 0 and 1).

Contact point

Dr Simon Ferrier - simon.ferrier@csiro.au

Graphs / Diagrams

Figure. Change in global PARC-connectedness between 2000 and 2012

Current storyline

The global trend in PARC-connectedness (see Graphs and diagrams) indicates a very slight improvement, between 2000 and 2012, in how well terrestrial protected areas are “connected” and “integrated into the wider landscape”, when measured in terms of the extent to which protected 1km grid-cells are connected to other protected cells, and to cells containing primary vegetation (habitat) in the surrounding non-protected landscape. The global value of the indicator in 2012 was close to 0.5 suggesting that, on average, the connectedness of protected grid-cells is midway between that of a cell surrounded by a continuous expanse of unprotected transformed habitat (within a 500km radius), and a cell instead surrounded by a continuous expanse of protected areas and/or primary vegetation.

Indicator relationship to Aichi Target 11

Target 11: “By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.”

The PARC-connectedness indicator assesses progress towards achieving “well-connected systems of protected areas … integrated into the wider landscape” by using a fine-scaled grid, covering the entire terrestrial surface of the planet, to analyse the extent to which protected grid-cells are connected to other protected cells, and to cells containing primary vegetation (habitat) in the surrounding non-protected landscape.

Data and methodology

Coverage: Global/Sub-global/Regional/National. The indicator is derived from data and models covering the entire terrestrial surface of the planet at 30-arcsecond (approximately 1km) grid resolution.

Scale: Global data. As above, the indicator covers the entire terrestrial surface of the planet at 1km grid resolution.

Time series available: 2000, 2005, 2010, 2012.

Next planned update: 2018. The next update in 2018 will generate indicator results up to 2016 (this update will also include results for 2014)

Possible disaggregations: The indicator can potentially be reported at any desired level of spatial disaggregation including individual 1km grid-cells, countries, any defined regional classification (e.g. IPBES regions), or the entire planet.

Metadata used: For each year of interest, the indicator is derived from two spatial grids covering the entire terrestrial surface of the planet at 30-arcsecond (approximately 1km) grid-resolution:

  1. The first grid records the proportion of each grid-cell included within protected areas – i.e. 0 if none of the cell is protected, 1 if all of the cell is protected, and a proportion between 0 and 1 if only part of the cell is protected. This calculation is based on all protected-area boundaries included in the World Database on Protected Areas (https://www.protectedplanet.net/). Any protected area for which only a centroid and areal extent are provided (rather than an explicit boundary) is assumed to be circular in shape.
  2. The second grid records the proportion of each grid-cell estimated to be covered by primary vegetation, based on statistical downscaling of coarse-resolution global land-use data using finer-resolution covariates, including remotely-sensed land cover and abiotic environmental attributes (Hoskins et al 2016). Annual change in this primary-vegetation layer is generated by re-running the downscaling model with land-cover change estimates from the MODIS-based MCD12Q1 dataset (Friedl et al 2010), and further refined for forest biomes by incorporating Hansen et al’s (2013) Landsat-based Global Forest Change dataset.

Methodology: The connectedness of each protected cell (value > 0 in the protected-area grid) to other protected cells, and to cells containing primary vegetation in the surrounding non-protected landscape, is scored using the cost-benefit analysis (CBA) technique described by Drielsma et al (2007). This raster-based technique, developed originally to analyse the connectedness of habitat for individual species, is founded on well-established principles of meta-population ecology.

To derive PARC-connectedness using the CBA technique each cell within a 500km radius (consistent with Santini et al 2015) of the protected cell of interest is first assigned a “benefit” value, representing the proportion of that cell included in protected areas or covered by primary vegetation (outside reserves). Each cell in the surrounding landscape is also assigned a “cost” value, indicating permeability to dispersal through that cell, scaled from 0.1 for cells with no protection or primary vegetation through to 1.0 for cells fully protected or covered by primary vegetation.

Using the CBA technique, the connectedness of each protected cell is calculated as a weighted sum of the benefit values of all cells in the surrounding landscape, with the contribution of each cell weighted by the probability of dispersal associated with the least-cost path between that cell and the protected cell of interest. This probability of dispersal is a function of the permeability values of cells along the least-cost path and an estimated median-dispersal parameter, assuming a negative-exponential relationship between distance and dispersal probability. Three different median-dispersal values are used – 2km, 25km and 100km – based loosely on the distribution of estimated dispersal capabilities of mammals reported by Santini et al (2015). Connectedness is therefore calculated three times for each protected cell and these results are then averaged to yield a single weighted sum for the cell. Least-cost path calculations are approximated by adapting the “petals” approach advocated by Drielsma et al (2007) to use a radial geometric stratification, thereby greatly reducing computation time.

The resulting weighted sum for each protected cell is expressed as a proportion of the maximum possible sum if that cell were surrounding by a continuous expanse of protected cells within the 500km radius, thereby yielding a connectedness score for that cell between 0 and 1. PARC-connectedness for any given spatial reporting unit (e.g. IPBES region, country) is then derived by summing these scores across all protected cells within the unit, and dividing this sum by the number of protected cells, thereby expressing overall connectedness as a proportion (also ranging between 0 and 1).

PARC-connectedness can also, optionally, be used to adjust more straightforward indicators of the proportion of any spatial reporting unit included in protected areas. Multiplying any such proportion by the PARC-connectedness index (itself a proportion) effectively down-weights the proportional protection of a reporting unit to account for the connectedness of protected areas within that unit.

Future development

A further intended use of PARC-connectedness (not implemented in the current round of analyses) is to adjust CSIRO’s PARC-representativeness index (assessing the ecological representativeness of protected areas) to account for the connectedness of protected cells, thereby yielding a composite indicator of representativeness and connectedness.

References

  • Drielsma, M., Ferrier, S. and Manion, G. (2007) A raster-based technique for analysing habitat configuration: the cost-benefit approach. Ecological Modelling 202: 324-332.
  • Friedl, M. A., Sulla-Menashe, D., Tan, B., Schneider, A., Ramankutty, N., Sibley, A., Huang, X. (2010). MODIS Collection 5 global land cover: Algorithm refinements and characterization of new datasets. Remote Sensing of Environment 114: 168–182.
  • Hansen, M.C., Potapov, P.V., Moore, R., Hancher, M., Turubanova, S.A., Tyukavina, A., Thau, D., Stehman, S.V., Goetz, S.J., Loveland, T.R., Kommareddy, A., Egorov, A., Chini, L., Justice, C.O., Townshend, J.R.G. (2013) High-resolution global maps of 21st-Century forest cover change. Science 342: 850-853.
  • Hoskins, A.J., Bush, A., Gilmore, J., Harwood, T., Hudson, L.N., Ware, C., Williams, K.J., Ferrier, S. (2016) Downscaling land‐use data to provide global 30” estimates of five land‐use classes. Ecology and Evolution 6: 3040-3055.
  • Santini, L., Saura, S., Rondinini, C. (2015) Connectivity of the global network of protected areas. Diversity and Distributions 22: 199-211.

National use of indicator

Producing this indicator nationally: The PARC-connectedness indicator is derived using data and models covering the entire terrestrial surface of the planet at 30-arcsecond (approximately 1km) grid resolution. This relatively fine spatial resolution allows the indicator to be disaggregated, and reported, reliably at national level.

Use of the global method and data at the national level: CSIRO has calculated the PARC-connectedness indicator for all individual countries, using national subsets of the global 30-arcsecond-resolution data and models. National-level results have been generated for the same years reported globally – i.e. 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2012. CSIRO is currently collaborating with NatureServe to make these results freely accessible via their Biodiversity Indicators Dashboard in the near future.

The methodology used to derive PARC-connectedness can potentially be applied to in-country data on protected areas and primary vegetation in place of, or in combination with, the data employed globally. However this would require expert involvement of CSIRO to undertake additional model-fitting and analysis.


Further resources

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

Response

Applicable for national use

Yes (find out more)

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2018

Coverage

Global

Availability

Data available on request

Partners

Csiro logo

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Contact point

Dr Simon Ferrier - simon.ferrier@csiro.au