Conservation at the edges of the world

Douglas J. McCauley, Eleanor A. Power, Douglas W. Bird, Alex McInturff, Robert B. Dunbar, William H. Durham, Fiorenza Micheli, Hillary S. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Remote areas harbor some of the world's most undisturbed ecosystems. Major conservation gains can be made by effectively protecting nature in these remote zones. Conducting conservation work in remote settings presents both unique challenges and promising opportunities. We discuss how five commonly used approaches for conservation (buy and protect conservation; conservation motivated by the intrinsic values of nature; ecosystem service based conservation; ecotourism driven conservation; and conservation enabled by community planning) can be optimally applied to protect ecosystems in these special settings. In this discussion we draw examples from two model remote sites: Palmyra and Tabuaeran Atolls. Spatial analyses conducted using population density as a proxy for remoteness indicate that many existing recognized protected areas already include remote regions, but that the vast majority of the overall remote zones on the planet are not yet formally protected. Initiating discussions that directly consider both the roadblocks and opportunities for conservation in remote areas will help increase our odds of successfully protecting biodiversity in these unique and strategically important contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Conservation
StatePublished - Sep 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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