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Guidelines for management planning of protected areas

TitleGuidelines for management planning of protected areas
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsThomas L, Middleton J
Keywordsmanagement, mangement planning, protected area, tourism

Management Planning is an essential step towards ensuring the proper management of protected areas. This is particularly so as we move forward to the 21st century and face increasing complexities in the management of our parks and reserves. The essential steps of good management planning embracing current best practice are not always understood by park agencies or planning practitioners. So I am pleased to see the publication of these Guidelines, which have been compiled by two very experienced planners.In past years, management planning was typically undertaken by a group of planning experts who were instructed by their organisation to research the relevant information, interpret it and devise the best possible plan based on their professional experience. Indeed some planners may never have visited the site. Today, as we move into increasingly complex planning environments, with higher levels of tourism and protected area resource use, it is not possible to continue in this way. Critical to the planning of protected areas is the widest possible consultation with stakeholders and the development of objectives that can be agreed and adhered to by all who have an interest in the use and ongoing survival of the area concerned. So I am pleased to see that the consultative phase, particularly with local communities, features strongly in these Guidelines.It needs to be recognised that the preparation of the plans can be expensive and time consuming. While short cuts can be taken, this will be to the detriment of the protected area. Those organisations with responsibility for management are urged to make the strongest possible commitment to planning so as to avoid the long-term perils of management which lacks a strategic direction.In the past, emphasis in management planning has been almost exclusively directed towards biological, ecological, physical and cultural aspects. As these Guidelines make clear we need to go beyond this. This represents the starting point for the work of the planners who need to reach out and take into account as never before the myriad of use patterns, the often complex organisational arrangements, the range of economic services generated, the financial aspects and the "benefits beyond boundaries" to those outsidethe park borders.

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