Reader Comments

Post a new comment on this article

Towards insight in mechanisms of immigration to protected areas

Posted by paulscholte on 30 Sep 2009 at 11:11 GMT

The studies of Wittemyer et al. 2008 and Joppa et al. 2009 and the various on-line reactions in their journals draw much-needed attention to the immigration issue. Their debate has focused on the degree that attraction of PAs might explain a high (Wittemyer et al. 2008) or much lower number of immigration cases (Joppa et al. 2009). Yet insight into the immigration mechanism remains unsystematic, which leaves PA managers with little information to inform actions.

In an article in Conservation Biology (From Debate to Insight: Three Models of Immigration to Protected Areas, on-line first), Wouter de Groot and I focus on immigration mechanisms, geared towards causal understanding and management perspectives. We propose two models (frontier engulfment and attraction) and one ‘incidental’ category as mechanisms to describe immigration to PAs. We discuss these models in the light of Wittemyer et al. (2008) findings and reasoning and provide a series of examples. We argue that the different models call for different ways to fund and manage PAs. Getting the models right is of great relevance for effective conservation and the pursuit of an ethical approach toward poor communities. We conclude by calling for a reanalysis of the Wittemyer et al. (2008) and Joppa et al. (2009) data based on the three immigration models, to contribute to the development of management approaches to cope with immigration to PAs.

Paul Scholte

No competing interests declared.