Role of protected areas in habitat conservation
Protected areas are systems that provide protection, promotion and management of areas in nature that are characterized with exceptionally high natural values. The goal of protected areas is to ensure the possibility for conservation and development of all segments and aspects of natural heritage. One of the fundamental reasons for establishing systems of protected areas is to preserve rare and important ecosystems, species and habitats. The majority of protected areas enjoy this status precisely because there is a specific habitat or a network of habitats within their boundaries.
In order to protect the habitats, it is often necessary to maintain and manage them and the systems of protected areas are the best method in this respect.
Physical protection of habitats
Rare and important habitats are often at risk of physical destruction, such as cutting trees, fires, floods or other types of destruction – so proclaiming them protected areas would offer direct, physical and immediate protection from various natural disasters or incidents caused by people.
Proper management and monitoring
In order to protect important habitats, it is necessary to put them under constant supervision and monitoring and to develop programmes for their improvement. Whether by planting and managing vegetation, controlling invasive species and pests, introducing extinct species, fencing or fertilization – if habitats are part of a protected area, all these systems would give greater results.
Promotion and education
In order to ensure the preservation of important habitats in the future, it is necessary to educate future generations about their significance and at the same time promote them to the general public. Each protected area, with its annual plan for public awareness, provides opportunities for visits and acquainting the citizens with the habitats, thus ensuring indirect protection for the habitats and the entire protected area.