Practicum Project | 2011

The Impact of External Variables on Management Practices in Protected Areas: An Analysis

Students: Naomi Elliott, Anni Gill, Amanda Grossi, Daniel Hogan, Ben Kertman, David Molmen, Shannon Skelton, and Charlotte Stanley

Client: Conservation International

Advisor: Kristen Cruise

Final Report

Our research focuses on the important question, how do cultural, economic and environmental factors influence conservation efforts? The threats to our ecosystems has lead to large amounts of biodiversity loss, exemplifying the importance of effective management plans to restore biological systems. Conservation International (CI) provided our group with data sets regarding management attributes and protected area site descriptions. Our research team compiled a list of 12 quantitative external factors that might describe relationships with the scores of our management attributes. Our data team used statistical analysis (two-tailed t-test) to compare the trends of the scores for each management attribute with quantitative external factor trends. Our goal was to provide CI with the management attributes and types of protected areas they should prioritize in order to make the most informed investment. Conservation sites that lay within areas that propagate the most influential external factors (Number of Endemic Species, GNI, and Percentage Urbanized) should be of upmost focus. Furthermore, the management attributes related to plans, land and boundary issues, and biodiversity targets, should receive increased attention as they are highly related to the external factors. There are also trends that suggest that funds may not be currently distributed in a manner consistent with CI’s stated strategies.