Protected Areas & Sustainable Regional Development


Management of Protected Areas

Since planning and managing protected areas involve many different legal, administrative and technical realities, the experts in charge have to face an unmanageable variety of tasks (JUNGMEIER et al. 2006):

The different challenges for protection area management (Source: Adapted from JUNGMEIER et al. 2006).
In this complex environment, the persons in charge of the protected area are under constant pressure to decide, communicate, market, finance and last but not least to create benefits.
This is why the demand for highly skilled and highly motivated people has steadily increased over the past few years. Implementing a protected area is always a big challenge. Different interest groups such as farmers, land owners, hunters or the wood industry, are often afraid of the changes brought by a protected area. Typical fears are the loss of decision-making ability, the dictate of land use, economic disadvantages, or the loss of personal freedom.
The main challenge in advance of the implementation of a large protected area is the communication of its benefits and needs to all citizens and interest groups which are concerned. Beside ecological benefits (regarding the original idea of protected areas) it is important to state out socio-economic advantages as well.

For environmentalists, spatial planners and policy makers, the creation of large and functional protected areas remains one of the major challenges of the 21st century (Source: CIPRA).
Many nature protection actors complain of a simultaneous deluge of superfluous information and lack of expertise with regard to themselves and their staffs. At the same time it is often difficult to convince various groups like farmers, forest owners, hunters, sawmill operators, and the hotel and catering trade of the advantages of a protected area, because they are wary of restrictions being imposed on their rights and activities. All too often the environmentalists underestimate the sensitivities and fears of the people affected. That is clearly illustrated by the case of the wolf project in the Bavarian Forest Nature Park, which failed because of a lack of acceptance on the part of the local population, or the unfortunate choice of the German name for the Rhön Biosphere Reserve, which reminded the local people of a tribal reservation in the USA with themselves as the exhibits! Only if all concerned pull together will nature protection projects receive the support of the resident population and succeed in the long term.
Further Readings & Links

"Future in the Alps Workshop"
Workshop on the management of Alpine protected areas, dealing with the question whether protected areas can be an opportunity for the region as such.

Integrating Biodiversity Issues Into Sustainable Regional Development

Integrating biodiversity issues into sustainable regional development concepts and strategies is one of the main challenges:


Indication of different interrelationships between biodiversity and regional development (schematically). Arrows on the right symbolise the resulting synergy (Source: JUNGMEIER et al. 2006)
  • Conflicting: "Traditionally", economic development and conservation were principally understood to be contradictory constraints. Still, many protected areas are threatened by economic activities, they may be called sustainable or not. Besides a lack of communication many of the conflicts derive from stringent policies, differing expectations, infrastructure-based understanding of development or just incompetence of management or administrative bodies. The resultant energy in such situations equals zero.

  • Parallel: Many successfully managed protected areas developed and found ways of implementing these issues in parallel. On the one hand, measures for conserving and developing biodiversity are implemented. On the other hand, activities for economic development (mostly in services, partly in production) are set. There are little synergies between both matters, but they succeed individually.

  • Integrated: Integrated approaches are focused on the synergies between conservation of biodiversity and the regional development.
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Final Report on the IPAM-Toolbox, the toolbox for integrated protected areas management.