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PhD candidate Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi Protected Areas Need for special attention; vulnerability of species Geographically designed space Human-specified borders Specific management systems IUCN: A clearly defined geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values. CBD: Protected area is a geographically defined area which is designated/ regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives. Protected Areas Ecological, economical and cultural values Transboundary protected areas: international relevance Geographical range size is a fundamental criterion for determining when a species faces a heightened risk of extinction Lack of proper supervision and management: extinction of the species at alarming rates Protected Areas: growth 1962: 1.54% of land surface 2003: 12% of land surface Biome Tropical rainforests in the Orinoco basin, Venezuela Photo© Mariapia Bevilacqua, ACOANA, Caracas. Biome is a major regional or global biotic community, such as a grassland, forest or desert, characterized chiefly by the dominant forms of plant life and the prevailing climate. Climate Change and Biomes Climate: largest factor affecting vegetation pattern of a particular biome. Global Climate Change: Already affecting living systems (IPCC 2007). Biome shift Shifts in plant species and biome distribution in response to warming Climate Change increases the probability of shifts Species are subject to increasing temperatures and/or changes in water regimes. Each 1o Celsius of temperature change moves ecological zones of Earth by about 160 km in a North–South direction (Thuiller 2007) Climate-induced shifts Geographical shifts of herbs, birds and butterflies in protected areas: @ 6 km per decade due to the shifts in the biomes (Paramesan & Yohe 2003) Mediterranean biome moving to the cold- temperate boundary: Temperate forests and heath lands withdraw to higher altitudes. Changes in vegetation distribution: new indication of complex global change effects on life. Biome Shifts Biome Shifts Biomes move The Kyetrak Glacier, Tibet, as photographed in 1921 by Major E.O. Wheeler and in 2009 by David Breashears. The glacier has retreated creating a lake , where there used to have ice and snow (Wheeler photo courtesy of Royal Geographical Society. 2009 Photo © David Breashears; Source: Yale E360) Species shift ranges, new threats “Range-restricted species, particularly polar and mountaintop species, show severe range contractions and have been the first groups in which entire species have gone extinct due to recent climate change” Parmesan 2006 NEW THREATS American Pika (Ochotona princeps) Not in the US endangered species list Very much sensitive to temperatures Disappearing from lower elevations. In Yosemite National Park: from 7800 feet to 9500 feet in 90 years (Ruhl 2008) Nine out of 25 known pika populations in the Great Basin of Nevada and Utah disappeared over the past century, and the surviving pikas moved 900 feet up Photo © Corbis Whooping Crane (Total population 470 in 2006) International Environmental Law Law serves a number of functions in relation to living resources. It can be Distributive, determining who is to have ownership or access to the resources Conservatory, preserving the resources as such or at least doing so at levels that can sustain exploitation Proscriptive, prohibiting for conservatory, ethical or moral reasons the exploitation of resources. International legal regimes on the establishment and management of protected areas Convention Parties/States World Heritage Convention 187 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands 160 Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals 114 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Convention on Biological Diversity 175 UNESCO: Man and Biosphere with 507 sites 193 Regional legal arrangements There are very effective multilateral and bilateral regional arrangements between states for managing habitats with transboundary features Habitat Directive in EU Migratory Bird Treaties (US, Canada, Mexico) The Western Hemisphere Convention ASEAN and SAARC initiatives International Environmental Law Geographical shifts: the role of the law is more complex Establishment of the source of jurisdiction over the concerned species and their habitats Other regulations, establishment of international institutions Compliance and enforcement mechanisms and dispute settlement arrangement Control and prevention of environmental harm and sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystems The present complex issues require more sophisticated but flexible approach to enforcement than one based primarily on interstate claim for damages. Challenges posed by biome shifts New boundaries: movement of biomes and hence movement of the species. Need to change boundaries of protected areas, so as to protect a particular biome. Domestic law intervention as the property rights of the individuals and communities would come into picture. Balancing of rights and public interests: a major hurdle for the states. States should find an effective cost benefit way of balancing these interests. Challenges Sovereignty of states: states are apprehensive about compromising their sovereign rights over natural resources within their boundary. International organizations provide a forum in which these concerns like liability under agreements, safety concerns, conservation of resources over borders. Economic factors play an important role in internationalizing efforts to safe guard species. Challenges Resource shifts, Resource use rights: management in an international context. The shift might lead to conflicts and in case the states share a vulnerable relation it could be more sensitive. More transboundary movement of endangered Species: The movement of species across the wider landscape, while ensuring the continued viability of individual protected areas. Challenges Ability of the protected area network to retain its efficacy in the projected impacts of climate change. States have agreed to many further rules of international environmental law, confirming that global action to implement these rules is both appropriate and accepted by states Solutions Strengthening of the existing regime, increasing the membership and coordination. Convention on Migratory Species is a regime which could be strengthened because of its flexible approach through Agreements and MoUs. Soft law is preferred by many states. Combined efforts by CBD, CMS, RAMSAR, WHC, UNEP, CITES, UNFCCC and IUCN is required.