Original Research

Estimating conservation effectiveness across protected areas in Limpopo Province, South Africa

Luna Milatović, Brandon P. Anthony, Anthony Swemmer
Koedoe | Vol 61, No 1 | a1530 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v61i1.1530 | © 2019 Luna Milatović, Brandon P. Anthony, Anthony Swemmer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 March 2018 | Published: 19 June 2019

About the author(s)

Luna Milatović, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Brandon P. Anthony, Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Anthony Swemmer, South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), Phalaborwa, South Africa


Protected areas (PAs) are considered the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation, and their establishment is often used to demonstrate the success of conservation policies. However, despite the increase in number and extent of PAs, global trends of biodiversity loss remain largely unchanged. It has become apparent that simply establishing a PA is not enough, and effective management is equally important for achieving conservation success. The importance of management monitoring and evaluation systems has been recognised by numerous institutions, triggering the development of various conservation performance assessment frameworks and tools, each varying in their accuracy, scale and application. Modified threat reduction assessment (MTRA) was selected to evaluate the management effectiveness of the Letaba Ranch Nature Reserve (LRNR), which serves as a buffer area of the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa, and two KNP sections bordering it (Mahlangeni and Phalaborwa). The aim of this research was to determine the nature of threats to biodiversity and their changes between 2013 and 2017 in all three sites. The research revealed 13 threats and determined negative MTRA indices of −33.6% in the LRNR and −14.7% in the Phalaborwa section, but a 13.2% reduction in threats in the Mahlangeni section. Combined with the results of geospatial visualisation of changes in threats, we suggest that the LRNR is not sufficiently meeting the objective of supporting the ecological integrity of the KNP, but further exposes it to threats, and that MTRAs can be useful for measuring and comparing threats across PA boundaries.

Conservation implications: South Africa has initiated a Strategy on Buffer Zones which seeks to buffer threats to national parks. Evaluating how well buffer reserves function in this capacity is crucial for understanding management effectiveness and resource allocation. Utilising a combination of MTRAs and geospatial tools can assist managers in understanding threats and their mitigation across PAs.


protected areas; conservation success; management effectiveness; threat reduction assessment; biodiversity; buffer zone


Total abstract views: 4155
Total article views: 4203


Crossref Citations

1. Applying threat analysis approach in a small forest urban park (Northern Italy): local expert-based assessment to prioritize the management actions
Pietro Giovacchini, Lorenzo Borghi, Davide Tartari, Francesca Cucci, Andrea Caldarelli, Massimo Tassinari, Pietro Melandri, Marco Dinetti, Corrado Battisti, Letizia Marsili
Folia Oecologica  vol: 51  issue: 1  first page: 66  year: 2024  
doi: 10.2478/foecol-2024-0007