GIS Assessment of the Status of Protected Areas in East Asia
East Asia is comprised of eight countries and territories: People's Republic of China (China),Hong Kong, Japan, Democratic People's Republic (DPR) of Korea, Republic of Korea,Macau, Mongolia and Taiwan, with a combined land area of 11.8 million km2 . The region constitutes a large and important part of the eastern Palearctic Realm. In 1996 IUCNpublished A Regional Action Plan for Protected Areas in East Asia (IUCN, 1996). The planincluded, in addition to improving the management and legal framework for protected areas, an objective of reaching 10% protected area national or territorial coverage by 2000. In 1996, the protected area coverage of East Asia stood at 5.7%. The plan noted: "there are gaps in the protected area coverage in most, if not all, East Asian countries and territories. However, some countries have much further to go than others in putting into place an effective system. Particular examples include Mongolia and North [DPR] Korea". Nine years later, East Asiahas a total protected area coverage of 1 6%. This review attempts to evaluate this considerablyexpanded protected area system to see if the gaps are now filled or whether additional areasare still needed.