Review : Books

Managing to Protect

The book under review presents an overall guideline framework for the planning, design, establishment, implementation, management and evaluation of protected areas

This review is by Ramya Rajagopalan (, Consultant, ICSF

Protected areas (PAs)“geographically defined area(s) designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectivesare regarded as one of the most important tools for the conservation of biodiversity. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aims at ensuring that, by 2010, at least 10 per cent of the world’s ecological regions are effectively conserved as PAs. That goal has fuelled the growth of PAs in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and there is an increasing trend to ‘mainstream’ PAs, as part of a complex social, economic and biophysical matrix.

The book under review, brought out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and largely targeted towards PA managers and students, is an outcome of the Vth IUCN World Parks Congress, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2003. It addresses the social, cultural, economic, scientific and managerial aspects of PAs, focusing on the best practices for PA management. It emphasizes the need for conservation along with community development, good governance, participatory decisionmaking, poverty alleviation and equitable sharing of the costs and benefits of protection.

The guidebook has 26 chapters, divided into two parts, and is supported by case studies from different parts of the world. The core chapters in Part I cover natural heritage; social dimensions; PA types and supporting institutions; values and benefits; governance issues; management processes; and capacity development. The first chapter provides a biogeographical context for the establishment and management of PAs, with illustrations from selected world heritage sites. The second chapter views PA management as a dynamic process that exists in conjunction with wider social, historical, economic and cultural influences. The authors draw on the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme to classify the countries in the case studies, rather than the standard ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ country classification. For conservation goals to succeed, the traditional and emerging paradigms for managing PAs need to keep in mind social and economic objectives. This is highlighted in a case study from the community-managed marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Pacific, especially in Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu, where MPAs are managed through a partnership between the community and governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

A number of international processes, agreements and institutions are involved in the management of PAs, as explained in the third chapter of the book, which outlines the important international conventions and treaties, national laws and local regimes and institutions that govern PAs. Governance is about power, relationships, responsibility and accountability, all of which depend on formal mandates, institutions, processes and legal and customary rights. The book under review analyzes the different roles played by various actors such as national and sub-national government agencies, NGOs, private landowners, indigenous peoples, local communities, civil society, and international institutions.

PA managers will find particularly useful the chapter that explains the four main aspects of managing PAs, namely, planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Another chapter deals with developing the capacity of individuals and organizations to manage PAs. It outlines the components of a framework for capacity development and assessment of capacity needs, with case studies from the Philippines.

While the first part of the book attempts to inter-link various theoretical concepts and frameworks for PA management, the second part uses case studies from Brazil, the United States and Canada to elaborate the principles and practices followed for establishing PA networks in terrestrial and marine environments.

For the effective management of PAs through their design, planning, implementation and evaluation stages, baseline quantitative data is essential. The different methods needed to collect such data, and the communication strategies required for effective dissemination, are elaborated. One of the case studies used to explain this process draws on the experience of community participation in managing the Apo Island MPA in the Philippines.

The chapter on area-based management planning, especially for government-designated PAs, highlights the need for a strategic, adaptive and participatory process in the development of management plans. It stresses the need for clear-cut goals and indicators, and an intelligent mix of adaptive and participatory planning processes.

The chapter on sustainability practice and sustainable use addresses sustainable management of extractive uses, and how to implement sustainable practices within management organizations. It also shows how harvesting of resources is affected when the local community is not directly involved in setting up the MPAs. In the case of sustainable-use PAs, there is need for an institutional framework that involves all stakeholders, and a comprehensive management plan, based on an adaptive approach, as elaborated in the case study of mussel harvesting in the Mapelane reserve in South Africa.

Collaboratively managed PAs (CMPAs) and community conserved areas (CCAs) are increasingly being seen as the PAs of the future, where communities are placed at the centre stage of the conservation goal, rather than being shunted to the periphery. One chapter in the guidebook elaborates the different forms of CMPAs co-managed, jointly managed and multi-stakeholder managed PAswhere decision-making power is shared between State agencies and other partners, especially focusing on indigenous peoples and local communities. Among the problematic issues identified are the denial of cultural identity and rights of communities; inadequate policies and laws; rigid, universal prescriptions; and inadequate capacity for implementation of management measures. A case study on the Galapagos Marine Reserve, Ecuador, discusses the co-management approach.

Legal relationship

CCAsdefined by IUCN as ecosystems conserved by indigenous and local communities through customary law or other effective meanshave different characteristics, including motivations for conservation, community rules and regulations, social and economic benefits, and legal relationship of the community to the CCA. Ashish Kothari, in the chapter on CCAs, elaborates on the benefits, challenges and limitations of such PAs. While CCAs are practised in one form or another in many countries, they are not legally recognized nor included in all national systems of PAs. It is important for them to be recognized, in the context of an established system of rights and responsibilities. Kothari also stresses that the issue of equity (including gender equity) within communities needs to be tackled as well.

The chapter on MPAs by Jon Day specifically focuses on MPAs as a form of PAs that seek to manage the human values, behaviour and uses that affect the marine environment. Various aspects need to be kept in mind, including the need for a network of PAs, rather than a single PA, with different approaches for management and governance. This chapter, which is biased towards the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia, highlights the need to consider the differences in the ecosystem characteristics of terrestrial and marine ecosystems while designing conservation practices.

While MPAs can help conserve biodiversity and enhance fish stocks, as one chapter in the book points out, only an integrated approach to marine conservation will ensure long-term social and economic sustainability for communities. Environmental and ecological circumstances must be juxtaposed with cultural and socio-political contexts as well as the economic and logistic feasibility of managing PAs.

The second part of the book discusses establishing PAs, managing, financial planning, sustainable practice and use, threats to PAs, and natural and cultural heritage management. This part also has chapters that are specific to CMPAs, CCAs and MPAs, besides a chapter on evaluation of management effectiveness, and identifying the challenges and opportunities for the future.

Useful summaries

Usefully enough, most of the chapters in the guidebook end with a summary of management principles. Though a number of case studies are from terrestrial ecosystems, the principles elaborated could also be adopted for MPAs. The six appendices of the book provide information on the chronology of PAs, the outputs of the World Parks Congress, and the total number and area of national PAs as identified by the World Commission on Protected Areas.

This review has not touched on all the chapters in Part II, but only on those aspects that pertain to MPAs and communities. Some of the other important components of PA management discussed in the book are sustainable financing; managing staff, finances and assets; operations management; natural heritage management; cultural heritage management; incident management; and tourism and recreation.

The guidebook presents an overall framework for PA planning, design, establishment, implementation, management and evaluation. On the whole, it is a comprehensive book, with examples from different parts of the globe, and it comes at the right time, when countries are working towards fulfilling their obligations to the CBD targets. It is important that current and future PA managers, policymakers and NGOs keep in mind the challenges outlined in the book. While the book does cover most aspects of PAs, it would have been interesting to have focused on gender, though, admittedly, a few chapters have tried to weave in theissue.

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