This working paper produced by CIESIN and AIT Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH examines the impacts of light pollution and approximate human influence on protected areas.
It uses spatial indicators based on satellite-observed nighttime lights data acquired by the U.S. Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS) and protected area distribution information provided by UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC). This research takes a more general approach than previous analyses of the ecological consequences of artificial night lighting, which focus on adverse effects on light-sensitive ecosystems or species. This paper underscores the need for accurate and consistent spatial data on a global scale and can help to indicate which protected areas globally and nationally are at greatest risk of human activities. It is also an important step towards public communication and raising general awareness on the topic of light pollution.