Talk, 8th Biennial Conference of The International Biogeography Society, Tucson, AZ: 2017-01-09 - 2017-01-13
Protected areas (PAs) play a crucial role for the protection of biota and ecosystems. Cli mate change, pollution, tourism, land use change, invasive species are creating pressures to PAs. No longer, local case studies can satisfy the research needs in order to improve and adapt management strategies. The ECOPOTENTIAL project within the HORIZON 2020 research initiative is focused on PAs of international importance. Across Europe, including non - EU member states, outstanding national parks, biosphere reserves, and world heritage sites are investigated with emphasis on vulnerable regions such as mou ntains, coasts and drylands. ECOPOTENTIAL includes 47 partner institutions from 18 countries. The project is blending in - situ earth and remote sensing earth observations, data analysis and modelling of future ecosystem conditions. Here, we analyze how the selected sites represent European biodiversity and ecosystems, climate, and biogeographical regions. We evaluate the adaptation capacity of PAs in face of climate change and possible threats and losses of benefits. Finally, priority PAs are identified and suggestions are made how European PAs should be developed in the future.