A new report presents the results of an analysis of the characteristics and representativeness of the protected area network in the Barents Region based on a large amount of GIS data. The report evaluates the current state of the protected area network in comparison with the global Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity that aim to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020 (2010, Nagoya, Japan). Target 11 states that by 2020 at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas.
This report provides for the first time unified and harmonized information on protected areas across national and regional borders covering 13 administrative regions in the four countries, providing a common language to discuss different kinds of protected areas. The information is presented in comprehensive forms as thematic maps, tables and figures. This information is now available to be utilized in nature conservation planning in each participating country, taking into account the trans-boundary connectivity of protected areas.
A network of existing and planned protected areas is under constant development in the Barents Region. In March 2013, protected areas covered 13,2% (231 600 km2) of the Barents Region, and national and regional nature conservation plans included establishing a further 59 400 km2 as protected areas, increasing the future level of protection to cover 16,6% of the terrestrial area. In developing protected area networks, the representativeness of forests and wetlands and the connectivity of the protected areas need special emphasis.
This work was done as a part of the Barents Protected Area Network (BPAN) project by national and regional authorities, scientific institutes and nature conservation non-governmental organizations from Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwest Russia. The aim of the BPAN project is to promote the establishment of a representative protected area network in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region to conserve biodiversity of boreal and Arctic nature, particularly forests and wetlands.