ESR prepress abstract  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00878

Representation and protection of threatened biodiversity by the largest Spanish regional network of protected areas

David Rodríguez-Rodríguez*, Javier Martínez-Vega

*Email: david.rodriguez@csic.es

ABSTRACT: Representation of and legal and managerial protection afforded to 71 Habitats of Community Interest (HCIs) and 126 regionally threatened flora, fauna and fungi species and sub-species (RTSs) and 33 globally threatened species or sub-species (GTSs) by a network of 404 protected areas (PAs) in Andalusia, a region rich in biodiversity in southern Spain, was spatially assessed using official census data. The Andalusian PA network expands across one third of the region’s territory and includes the threatened species’ richest areas. However, it only covers 57% of the area of occupancy of RTSs, 81% of the regional area of occupancy of GTSs, and 53% of the extent of HCIs. Over 61% of the regional PA network area is assigned more than one PA designation category, although cumulative legal protection is marginally related to RTSs’ richness and unrelated to GTSs’ richness. RTSs and, especially, GTSs occupy most relative area in Ramsar sites, although these are of relatively minor importance for threatened habitats. Wetlands and agricultural areas are the broad ecosystem types showing the greatest numbers of RTSs and GTSs. Seven GTSs were not included in the Andalusian Register of Threatened Species. One hundred and eleven unprotected Areas of High Importance for Threatened Species (AHITSs) and one Area of High Importance for Threatened Biodiversity (AHITB) were identified. Those species and sites are good candidates for a targeted expansion of legal protection of biodiversity in the region.