The establishment and maintenance of a system of protected areas is central to regional and global strategies\ud for the conservation of biodiversity. The current global trend towards human population growth\ud and widespread environmental degradation means that such areas are becoming increasingly isolated\ud in fragmented habitat islands. In regions in which this process is well advanced a high proportion of species\ud are thus predicted to have become restricted to protected areas. Here using uniquely detailed datasets\ud for Britain, a region with close to the global level of percentage coverage by statutory protected areas,\ud we determine the extent of restriction of Red List vascular plant species of conservation concern to these\ud areas. On the basis of currently known distributions, overall our results strongly support the importance\ud of a dual conservation strategy in Britain, in which protected areas are maintained with particular reference\ud to those biodiversity features (such as many threatened plant species) that are highly dependent on\ud them, and in which components of the wider landscape are also managed in such a way as to promote the\ud abundance and distribution of such features with particular reference to those which are unlikely to persist\ud in protected areas alone
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