A think piece on the effectiveness of protected areas in England.

Published online
12 Aug 2022
Published by
Natural England
Content type

Moseldale, J. R. & Maclean, I. M. D. & Gardner, A. S. & Gaston, K. J. & Hopkins, J. J.

Publication language
UK & England


In this 'think piece' the authors return to the principles outlined by Lawton et al. (2010) and examine the implicit trade-offs between 'bigger, better, more and joined' when applied to England's protected areas, their dynamic relationship to the wider landscape and in the context of climate change. The current state of biodiversity, distribution of remaining semi-natural habitat, characteristics of the wider landscape and how they influence the application of the principles of conservation science and protected area design were examined. In the second part of the 'think piece' the authors consider how to deliver a re-envisaged, and more fit-for-purpose, network of protected areas. This report proposed the need to improve the effectiveness of existing protected areas by means of a hierarchy of recommendations: (i) improving the quality of habitat,(ii) increasing the size and (iii)number of sites, and (iv) enhancing the connectivity among sites.

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