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Red-list data from non-island nations show that a greater proportion of protected area is correlated with significantly lower percentages of threatened birds, mammals and plants, and especially overharvested birds and mammals, once the effects of endemism, human population size, and other confounding variables are removed. Proportion, number and size of areas protected are among the reserve traits correlated with reduced threat. Per-capita conservation spending strongly correlates with per-capita income and with proportion of area protected, number of reserves, and proportion of partially protected area. Although most reserve traits are positively correlated among themselves, median reserve size is significantly inversely correlated with other reserve traits and with conservation spending, indicating that wealthier nations have more numerous but smaller and less protected reserves than poorer nations. These findings represent correlation rather than causation, but they do support studies at finer scales which suggest that even poorly protected "paper parks" are better than no parks at all for the reduction of threat among species.
Conservation Biology © 2002 Wiley