PLoS ONE (Jan 2014)

Protected areas in tropical Africa: assessing threats and conservation activities.

  • Sandra Tranquilli,
  • Michael Abedi-Lartey,
  • Katharine Abernethy,
  • Fidèle Amsini,
  • Augustus Asamoah,
  • Cletus Balangtaa,
  • Stephen Blake,
  • Estelle Bouanga,
  • Thomas Breuer,
  • Terry M Brncic,
  • Geneviève Campbell,
  • Rebecca Chancellor,
  • Colin A Chapman,
  • Tim R B Davenport,
  • Andrew Dunn,
  • Jef Dupain,
  • Atanga Ekobo,
  • Manasseh Eno-Nku,
  • Gilles Etoga,
  • Takeshi Furuichi,
  • Sylvain Gatti,
  • Andrea Ghiurghi,
  • Chie Hashimoto,
  • John A Hart,
  • Josephine Head,
  • Martin Hega,
  • Ilka Herbinger,
  • Thurston C Hicks,
  • Lars H Holbech,
  • Bas Huijbregts,
  • Hjalmar S Kühl,
  • Inaoyom Imong,
  • Stephane Le-Duc Yeno,
  • Joshua Linder,
  • Phil Marshall,
  • Peter Minasoma Lero,
  • David Morgan,
  • Leonard Mubalama,
  • Paul K N'Goran,
  • Aaron Nicholas,
  • Stuart Nixon,
  • Emmanuelle Normand,
  • Leonidas Nziguyimpa,
  • Zacharie Nzooh-Dongmo,
  • Richard Ofori-Amanfo,
  • Babafemi G Ogunjemite,
  • Charles-Albert Petre,
  • Hugo J Rainey,
  • Sebastien Regnaut,
  • Orume Robinson,
  • Aaron Rundus,
  • Crickette M Sanz,
  • David Tiku Okon,
  • Angelique Todd,
  • Ymke Warren,
  • Volker Sommer

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 9, no. 12
p. e114154


Read online

Numerous protected areas (PAs) have been created in Africa to safeguard wildlife and other natural resources. However, significant threats from anthropogenic activities and decline of wildlife populations persist, while conservation efforts in most PAs are still minimal. We assessed the impact level of the most common threats to wildlife within PAs in tropical Africa and the relationship of conservation activities with threat impact level. We collated data on 98 PAs with tropical forest cover from 15 countries across West, Central and East Africa. For this, we assembled information about local threats as well as conservation activities from published and unpublished literature, and questionnaires sent to long-term field workers. We constructed general linear models to test the significance of specific conservation activities in relation to the threat impact level. Subsistence and commercial hunting were identified as the most common direct threats to wildlife and found to be most prevalent in West and Central Africa. Agriculture and logging represented the most common indirect threats, and were most prevalent in West Africa. We found that the long-term presence of conservation activities (such as law enforcement, research and tourism) was associated with lower threat impact levels. Our results highlight deficiencies in the management effectiveness of several PAs across tropical Africa, and conclude that PA management should invest more into conservation activities with long-term duration.