Global trends in protected area connectivity from 2010 to 2018

Santiago Saura, Bastian Bertzky, Lucy Bastin, Luca Battistella, Andrea Mandrici, Grégoire Dubois*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Connectivity of protected areas (PAs) is needed to ensure the long-term persistence of biodiversity and ecosystem service delivery. The Convention on Biological Diversity agreed in 2010 to have 17% of land covered by well-connected PA systems by 2020 (Aichi Target 11). We here globally assess, for all countries, the trends in terrestrial PA connectivity every other year from 2010 to 2018 using the ProtConn indicator, which quantifies how well the PA systems are designed to support connectivity. The percentage of protected connected land (ProtConn) has increased globally from 6.5% in 2010 to 7.7% in 2018. Oceania experienced the largest recent increase in PA connectivity, whereas Asia is the only content with a lower ProtConn in 2018 than in 2010. Globally, the relative increase in the percentage of protected connected land (ProtConn) is nearly twice that of the percentage of land under protection (PA coverage), due to clear improvements in the design of PA systems for connectivity in many regions. The connectivity of the PA networks has become more dependent on the permeability of the unprotected landscape matrix in between PAs and on the coordinated management of adjacent PAs with different designations and of transboundary PA linkages. The relatively slow recent increase in PA connectivity globally (2016–2018) raises doubt as to whether connectivity targets will be met by 2020, and suggests that considerable further action is required to promote better-connected PA systems globally, including the expansion of the PA systems to cover key areas for connectivity in many countries and regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108183
JournalBiological Conservation
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

© 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (


  • Aichi targets
  • Connectivity indicators
  • Post-2020 biodiversity framework
  • Protected area connectivity
  • Protected areas


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