Measuring impact of protected area management interventions: current and future use of the global database of protected area management effectiveness

Protected areas (PAs) are at the forefront of conservation efforts, and yet despite considerable progress towards the global target of having 17% of the world’s land area within protected areas by 2020, biodiversity continues to decline. The discrepancy between increasing PA coverage and negative biodiversity trends has resulted in renewed efforts to enhance PA effectiveness. The global conservation community has conducted thousands of assessments of protected area management effectiveness (PAME), and interest in the use of these data to helpmeasure the conservation impact of PAmanagement interventions is high. Here, we summarize the status of PAME assessment, review the published evidence for a link between PAMEassessment results and the conservation impacts of PAs, and discuss the limitations and future use of PAME data in measuring the impact of PAmanagement interventions on conservation outcomes.We conclude that PAME data,while designed as a tool for local adaptivemanagement, may also help to provide insights into the impact of PA management interventions from the local-to-global scale. However, the subjective and ordinal characteristics of the data present significant limitations for their application in rigorous scientific impact evaluations, a problem that should be recognized and mitigated where possible.