Prospects for stakeholder coordination by protected-area managers in Europe.
Growing resource demands by humans, invasive species, natural hazards, and a changing climate have created broad-scale impacts and the need for broader-extent conservation activities that span ownerships and even political borders. Implementing regional-scale conservation brings great challenges, and learning how to overcome these challenges is essential for maintaining biodiversity (i.e., richness and evenness of biological communities) and ecosystem functions and services across scales and borders in the face of system change. We administered an online survey to examine factors potentially driving perspectives of protected-area (PA) managers regarding coordination with neighboring PAs and other stakeholders (i.e., stakeholder coordination) for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services during the next decade within diverse regions across Europe. Although >70% (n=58) of responding PA managers indicated that climate change and invasive species are relevant for their PAs, they gave <50% probability that these threats could be mitigated through stakeholder coordination. They thought there was a >60% probability (n=85) that stakeholder coordination would take place with the aim to improve conservation outcomes. Consistent with the foundation on which many European PAs were established, managers viewed maintaining or enhancing biodiversity as the most important (>70%; n=61) expected benefit. Other benefits included maintaining or enhancing human resources and environmental education (range of Bayesian credibility intervals [CIs] 57-93%). They thought the main barriers to stakeholder coordination were the lack of human and economic resources (CI 59-67% chance of hindering; n=64) followed by communication and interstakeholder differences in political structures and laws (CI 51-64% probability of hindering). European policies and strategies that address these hindering factors could be particularly effective means of enabling implementation of green infrastructure networks in which PAs are the nodes.