Throughout the world, managing protected areas involves people and organisations in widely differing roles. Field managers, whether working for an agency or for a community, deal with concrete problems and responsibilities on a daily basis and directly enjoy the rewards that only nature and culture at their best are able to provide. Local authorities and residents – administrators, community members, landowners and businesses – “live with” the protected areas, face restrictions, harness benefits and are variously involved in relevant concerns and decision making. Agency managers at the national level are concerned with systems of protected areas and the conservation benefits they provide as a whole; they, in turn, are accountable to the general public and taxpayers for official expenditure on protected areas. Natural and social scientists, and conservation and human rights advocates engage in understanding and refining management options and practices. And policy makers and legislators at the national and international level help shape the overall context in which protected areas exist.
For many of the above-mentioned managers, the issue that is often of greatest concern is how protected areas relate to local people – most importantly indigenous peoples and local and mobile communities. This volume in the Best Practice Guideline Series has been designed to offer them ideas and concrete advice on ways to enhance the equity of that relationship, and to make it work better for conservation. The following audiences have been kept particularly in mind:
- staff of protected area agencies at all levels, whether working at national or site level;
- staff of conservation or development NGOs, whether working at international, national or site levels;
- community leaders;
- local conservation committees;
- policy makers and legislators who shape the framework for protected areas.