The Effectiveness of Protected Areas in Conserving Globally Threatened Western Tragopan Tragopan melanocephalus.
Protected areas are a critical tool to conserve biodiversity in the face of the global crisis of species extinction. Here, we present the first ever management effectiveness assessment of Pakistan's Protected Areas (PAs). We link these assessments to the delivery of conservation outcomes focusing on the threatened Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus) endemic to Pakistan and India. We used two approaches, first mapping the spatial distribution of potential habitat coverage using machine learning ensemble models and second, an assessment of the management effectiveness of protected areas. Our results show that only Machiara National Park scored just above 40% (indicating relatively weak management), 22 of the PAs fell within the 25-50% quantile (indicating weak management), and 3 scored below 25% (indicating poor management). PAs within the species distributional range covered 92,387 ha which is only 2% of the total potential habitat of the Tragopan. Scoring of Planning element was insufficient both in term of the site and species. Likewise, inputs (e.g., research and monitoring program, staff numbers, staff training, current budget, security of budget, and management after process) were also inadequate. Finally, we recommend the establishment of more protected areas within the species potential habitat and inclusion of species-specific plans in Pakistan's PAs management.