About this Research Topic
An ecosystem is a complex composition of physical, chemical and biological components. This complex system remains in a healthy state if it can maintain the ecological equilibrium among its components. Anthropogenic disturbances are the prime stressors that affect this equilibrium by creating fragmentation, ecosystem sensitivity, loosening landscape connectivity and disrupting ecological integrity. This is particularly pressing in the Southeast Asian tropical region, where development is putting immense pressure on the ecological integrity of ecosystems. Many believe that protected areas (as defined by the IUCN categories) are the only hope to prevent further degradation. However, many protected areas are just 'paper parks': protected areas that have little or no formal management on the ground. These parks may fail to maintain ecological integrity, which supports balanced, biologically diverse communities.
The concept of ecological integrity has been discussed within various disciplines, including environmental science, conservation biology and ecology. Maintaining good ecological integrity in the regional protected area system will be crucial in protecting biodiversity. However, there is growing concern regarding how ecological integrity of protected areas can be monitored and evaluated at a regional level for conservation management.
This Research Topic will identify various aspects, issues and policies regarding the establishment of protected areas in the Southeast Asian region, and how their ecological integrity can be maintained. . Case studies, original research, reviews and policy-related articles are invited from multiple disciplines, particularly those with a strong focus on socio-economic, policy and management perspectives.
Keywords: Ecological integrity, Biodiversity conservation, Protected area management, Systematic conservation planning, Southeast Asian tropics, Ecosystem health
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