IUCN-World Commission on Protected Areas Publishes Guidelines for Conserving Connectivity

Bonn, 8 July 2020 - The IUCN has just issued a new publication “Guidelines for conserving connectivity through ecological networks and corridors”, as the 30th edition in its Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines series.

Ecological connectivity is essential for the survival of migratory species. The definition of ecological connectivity has been endorsed by the Parties of the Convention on Migratory Species as ‘the unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that sustain life on Earth’.  There is a large amount of science and theory aimed at addressing the urgent need to protect connectivity and its component parts (e.g. dispersal, seasonal migration, fluvial processes), all of which are under threat from human activities that lead to fragmentation, disrupt habitat, endanger biodiversity and impede climate change adaptation.  

As stated in the foreword to the Guidelines, provided by Grethel Aguilar, Acting Director General of the IUCN, Kathy MacKinnon, Chair of the IUCN/World Commission on Protected Areas and CMS Executive Secretary, Amy Fraenkel “Ensuring that protected and other conserved areas are well-connected across landscapes and seascapes, as part of ecological networks, will both maintain biodiversity and provide an opportunity for species to adapt to climate change as local conditions change.”

The Guidelines serve as a compendium of current understanding of the threats and recognized best practices for addressing fragmentation, setting out examples of how to apply ecological connectivity between protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures and developing ecological networks for conservation.

Key Messages

  • interconnected protected areas and other areas for biological diversity conservation are more effective than disconnected areas in human-dominated systems
  • despite ecological connectivity being recognized as critical to the conservation of biodiversity, approaches to identify, retain and enhance ecological connectivity are inconsistent
  • various forms of corridor legislation and policy to enhance connectivity have been adopted worldwide at national, regional and local level
  • a coherent global approach for ecological connectivity conservation is needed along with efforts to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of measures to protect connectivity and ensure functioning ecological networks

The Guidelines have been produced through a collaborative effort by five organizations: the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Center for large Landscape Conservation, the WCPA Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative (Y2Y).

Created in 1948, IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organizations.  IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas is the world’s premier network of protected area expertise. Administered by IUCN Programme on Protected Areas, it has a membership of more than 2,500 from 140 countries.  IUCN-WCPA’s Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines are the world’s authoritative resource for protected area managers.


Last updated on 16 July 2020