Where are the major gaps in the reserve network for Africa's mammals?

Fjeldsa, Jon ; Burgess, Neil D. ; Blyth, Simon ; De Klerk, Helen M. (2004-01)

The original publication is available from http://www.cambridge.org/

Article

The establishment of protected areas for wildlife conservation in Africa was motivated by a number of different reasons (including hunting, recreation and wildlife conservation). The current reserve network provides good coverage of the distributions of the 194 species of larger mammals (> 3 kg) and 51 species of threatened larger mammals. However, it is less effective in covering the distribution of all 197 of Africa's threatened mammal species, which includes >140 smaller bodied species ( <3 kg) often restricted to habitat patches. A fully comprehensive network of areas for the conservation of African mammals, especially those facing extinction, is not yet in place, and further reserves may be needed in the Horn of Africa (Somalia in particular), the Cameroon Highlands, parts of the eastern African coastal forests and Eastern Arc Mountains, and parts of the Albertine Rift Mountains. More and larger reserve areas are also required to adequately cover all the species of South Africa. Parts of these gaps are already covered by government forest reserves, and the importance of this reserve category for the conservation of African mammals, especially threatened species, needs to be better recognized. As many of the gaps in reserve coverage are in areas of high human population and good agricultural potential, conservation goals may be difficult to achieve unless we supplement traditional reserves with novel approaches to maintain natural habitats and wildlife outside reserves.

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