For centuries, protected areas have been an integral part of Asian landscapes and seascapes and have played a vital role in conserving biodiversity and the ecosystem services on which many communities depend. Protected areas help reduce the risk of natural disasters, provide clean water and air, enhance food security, mitigate climate change, and provide jobs, homes and livelihoods to tens of thousands of people throughout Asia.
Protected areas are, however, increasingly under threat. As Asia's economy and populations have grown, so too have the pressures on the region's natural environment. Habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive alien species, pollution, over-exploitation and climate change all threaten Asia's protected areas and the many benefits they provide.
As the threats to protected areas continue to rise, so has the desire to collaborate and face these issues. This has resulted in the establishment of the Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP), which has been designed as a key platform to help governments and other stakeholders collaborate for more effective management of protected areas in the region.