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Effectiveness of the Qilian Mountain Nature Reserve of China in Reducing Human Impacts


The management effectiveness of protected areas plays a key role in biodiversity and ecosystem services conservation. We evaluated the effectiveness of Qilian Mountain Nature Reserve (QMNR) in reducing human footprint (HF). Four dominant human activity factors, including population density, land use, road distribution, and night light, were incorporated for HF mapping. Comparisons of the HF value between inside and outside QMNR and its four functional zones were conducted. The results show that both the HF inside and outside of QMNR were increasing, but the difference between them was increasing, indicating partial management effectiveness. The north part of the central reserve has a good effect in reducing human impacts, while the effectiveness was poor at both ends of the reserve. The HF value of the most strictly managed core and buffer zones increased by 10.50 and 6.68%, respectively, for 2010–2020. The QMNR was effective in controlling population density and land use, but ineffective in reducing road construction, mining, and construction of hydropower facilities.