Structure – NRS Plan of Management Guidelines

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National Reserve System
Plan of Management Guidelines
Management planning and the Australian Government
The National Reserve System (NRS) is Australia's network of protected areas,
conserving examples of our natural landscapes and native plants and animals for
future generations.
The following guidelines for NRS Plans of Management include information on some
of the main elements of protected area management, including adaptive management,
management effectiveness, and monitoring and evaluation.
What is a Plan of Management?
The primary purpose of a Plan of Management for an NRS property is to express the
goals and management approach needed to achieve the primary management
objective, nature conservation.
The Plans provide publicly available information on the values of the protected area.
They should explain in detail the actions which will be followed for the area’s
conservation.
The Plans should include relevant monitoring and evaluation strategies and include
performance indicators. Keep in mind that Plans are subjected to independent and
public scrutiny and reporting.
The nature, scope and legal status of Plans of Management for protected areas vary
across jurisdictions and governance (for example, crown, local government, NGO).
The preparation of formal government-endorsed Plans for individual protected areas
can be a long and complex process.
Our intention is for conservation management agencies and organisations to adapt
pre-existing processes and procedures in order to meet these requirements.
Plans must be endorsed by the relevant management agency (Minister, Board or
Steering Committee) and meet the contractual arrangements of the financial
agreement.
NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
Principles of Protected Area Management
The following principles have been recognised as fundamental to the management of
protected areas across Australia. They were developed by the NRS Task Group, a
collective of State, Territory and Australian Government conservation agencies.
Interconnectedness of values and places
Protected area management aims to incorporate and integrate natural values,
Indigenous cultural values and broader community and historic heritage values.
Protected areas are also part of broader bioregional, social, cultural and economic
landscapes and they should be managed in this context.
Good neighbour
Protected area managers are economically and socially part of local and regional
communities and recognise the need to be valued, responsible and active local and
regional community participants and members.
Community participation and collaboration
Protected areas are conserved for the benefit of and with the support of the
community and this is best achieved through awareness, understanding and
involvement.
Environmental stewardship
Responsibility for protecting and conserving protected area values extends beyond the
management body to include lessees, licensees, relevant public and private authorities,
visitors, neighbours and the wider community.
Transparent decision making
The framework and processes for decision-making should be open and transparent.
The reasons for making decisions should be publicly available, except to the extent
that information, including information that is culturally sensitive or commercial-inconfidence, needs to be treated as confidential.
Effective and adaptive management
Protected area management should apply an adaptive management approach to
support continuous improvement in management. This includes monitoring the
outcomes of management and taking account of the findings of monitoring and other
research to improve management effectiveness. Management decisions should have a
firm scientific basis or be supported by relevant experience. Management bodies need
to maintain and improve their capacity to learn from experience, to value and build
staff expertise and draw on input from other stakeholders,
Appropriate use
Access to and use of protected areas must be consistent with the long term protection
of their values, the maintenance of physical and ecological processes and agreed
management objectives.
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
Indigenous people's knowledge and role
Protected areas are part of landscapes that have supported and continue to give
identity to Indigenous people who have traditional and historical connections to and
knowledge of the land. Indigenous people are recognised and respected as the original
custodians of the lands, waters, animals and plants within protected areas. Their living
and spiritual connections with the land through traditional laws, customs and beliefs
passed on from their ancestors are also recognised. The role of Indigenous
organisations in the protection and management of country is acknowledged.
Applying the "precautionary principle"
Protection of the natural and cultural heritage of the NRS should include identifying
and taking appropriate actions to avert and actively manage emerging threats and
risks. Effective management must be based on the best available information.
However, where there are threats or potential threats of serious or irreversible
damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing
measures to prevent environmental degradation or harmful disturbance to natural and
cultural places.
Inter-generational and intra-generational equity
Management seeks to ensure that the health, diversity and productivity of the
environment and the integrity and significance of cultural places are maintained or
enhanced for the benefit of future generations and that decisions affecting current
generations are socially equitable.
Governance
International standards
When providing financial assistance to successful applicants for new additions to the
NRS, the Australian Government applies international conservation standards.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has worked with
environment agencies around the world to develop an agreed framework for the
governance of protected areas. The framework classifies management regimes and
provides guidance for appropriate management objectives under each regime.
Each NRS property must be managed in accordance with one or more IUCN protected
area categories. The categories provide a global benchmark to assess the
appropriateness of management objectives in any given protected area. The IUCN
protected area management category is nominated in the application process and will
be confirmed in the Financial Agreement.
The IUCN defines a protected area as:
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
‘A clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed,
through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of
nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.’
The IUCN has recently revised Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management
Categories. Appendix 1 briefly lists and describes the IUCN protected area
management categories. Appendix 2 provides a more detailed summary of the
management objectives for each IUCN protected area management category. This
information is useful in developing the management objectives for a protected area.
IUCN Protected Area Management Categories
IUCN category
Primary Objective
Ia
Strict Nature Reserve
To conserve regionally, nationally or globally
outstanding ecosystems, species (occurrences or
aggregations) and/or geodiversity features: these
attributes will have been formed mostly or entirely by
non-human forces and will be degraded or destroyed
when subjected to all but very light human impact
Ib
Wilderness Area
To protect the long-term ecological integrity of natural
areas that are undisturbed by significant human
activity, free of modern infrastructure and where
natural forces and processes predominate, so that
current and future generations have the opportunity to
experience such areas
II
National Park
To protect natural biodiversity along with its
underlying ecological structure and supporting
environmental processes, and to promote education
and recreation
III
Natural Monument or feature
To protect specific outstanding natural features and
their associated biodiversity and habitats
IV
Habitat/species management area
To maintain, conserve and restore species and habitats
V
Protected landscape/seascape
To protect and sustain important landscapes/seascapes
and the associated nature conservation and other
values created by interactions with humans through
traditional management practices
VI
Protected area with sustainable use
of natural resources
To protect natural ecosystems and use natural
resources sustainably, when conservation and
sustainable use can be mutually beneficial
(IUCN 2008)
Objectives common to all six protected area categories
The following objectives may apply to all protected area categories.
All protected areas should aim to:
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
conserve the composition, structure, function and evolutionary potential of
biodiversity
contribute to regional conservation strategies (as core reserves, buffer zones,
corridors, stepping stones for migratory species etc)
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines

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maintain diversity of landscape or habitat and of associated species and
ecosystems
be of sufficient size to ensure the integrity and long term maintenance of the
specified conservation targets or be capable of being increased to achieve this
end
maintain the values for which it was assigned in perpetuity
be operating under the guidance of a management plan and monitoring and
evaluation program that supports adaptive management, and
possess a clear and equitable governance system.
All protected areas should also aim where appropriate to:









conserve significant landscape features, geomorphology and geology
provide regulatory ecosystem services, including buffering against the impacts
of climate change
conserve natural and scenic areas of national and international significance for
cultural, spiritual and scientific purposes
deliver benefits to resident and local communities consistent with the other
objectives of management
deliver recreational benefits consistent with the other objectives of
management
facilitate low impact scientific research activities and ecological monitoring
related to and consistent with the values of the protected area
use adaptive management strategies to improve management effectiveness and
governance quality over time
help to provide educational opportunities (including about management
approaches), and
help to develop public support for protection.
Public consultation
Where the land has been acquired with the assistance of Australian Government
funds, public contribution and consultation is required in developing the Plan of
Management.
It is important to involve the people affected by management of the property and to
give the public an opportunity to understand what is being proposed, and to provide
meaningful comment.
The extent of consultation should be appropriate to the particular circumstances of
each protected area.
For private protected areas, the extent of the Plan and degree of consultation required
is negotiated in the contract establishing the protected area.
Allowable uses in a protected area
The primary use of a protected area is managing the land for the conservation of
nature. There may be other uses of the land, but in general, the land manager must not
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
undertake land management practices that will be harmful to the objectives of the
designation of the protected area.
Where there is a conflict between the main objective of nature conservation and other
uses, nature conservation will take priority.
All uses of the NRS property must be in keeping with the primary objective of your
specific IUCN protected area management category (see Appendix 2). The protected
area management categories allow a wide range of uses depending on the designated
category.
The Plan of Management must provide for a monitoring and evaluation program that
supports adaptive management. Monitoring should demonstrate that there is a direct
benefit to the conservation of nature on the property and that there is no loss of
biodiversity values.
Protected areas should aim to maintain - or ideally, increase - the degree of
naturalness of the ecosystem being protected.
In the IUCN protected area management categories I to IV, the primary objective is
nature conservation with an additional objective of conserving cultural values.
In category V, there may be a primary objective to maintain a balanced interaction of
nature and culture through the maintenance of traditional management practices.
Category VI allows for the protection of natural ecosystems and the traditional low
impact sustainable use of natural resources.
Large scale industrial harvest of natural resources is not allowed and the majority of
the protected area must be retained in its natural condition.
Undertaking commercial enterprises like eco-tourism or nature based tourism are
allowed, as long as they provide educational, recreational and visitor opportunities.
However, they must be in keeping with the IUCN protected area management
objectives.
The NRS recognises that when protected areas are established, some cannot be
precluded from the protected area because of pre-existing rights like mining, grazing,
beekeeping and traditional use.
Every effort should be made to reduce and remove uses that are counter to the nature
conservation objective.
There are also a number of specific uses for which the management plan may
establish specialised zones. In some cases, it may be appropriate to establish zones for
visitor facilities, tourist lodges, protected area management infrastructure, indigenous
communities and permitted use areas (such as rock climbing).
The IUCN has provided guidance on this issue and suggests that these non-nature
conservation uses do not occupy more than 25 percent of the protected area. The
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
primary objective should apply to 75 per cent of the protected area – ‘the 75 per
cent rule’.
The Plan must specifically describe allowable uses, including access for the public
and those associated with use or exploitation of natural and cultural resources.
Allowable uses must support the primary nature conservation objective.
All management should take into account the national, state and local government
planning and legislative frameworks. This will ensure compliance with laws and
regulations that apply to the property.
Managing the implications of climate change
Climate change will affect Australia’s biodiversity in many different ways. Protected
areas should be managed to maintain high species diversity, healthy and functioning
ecosystems and to reduce the likelihood of species extinction and genetic loss.
Plans of Management should give due consideration to:
 understanding key values for protection and their requirements
 protecting key habitat (for example, refugia)
 maintaining ecological processes and ecological patterning in all native
ecosystems and ecological communities
 managing threats in the landscape
 dealing with landscape-scale issues.
Managers will need to play a critical role in observing and monitoring changes in
species, ecosystems and threats across the landscape.
Water management
Our growing economy and climate change is putting extreme pressure on water
availability. Protected areas in agricultural regions will need to effectively manage
their water use. Managers need to be conscious of water flows and the impact of onground management actions on the hydrology of the area. Possible management
interventions may include protecting wetlands or accessing groundwater for drought
refuges and staging posts for mobile native species. Depending on the location of your
protected area, managing water availability for freshwater ecosystems could be an
area of emphasis in your plan.
Subsidiary plans
As Plans provide the broad, overarching management goals of a protected area, they
should be supported by subsidiary documentation focusing on implementation. For
example, fire management or weed strategies will outline the practical, detailed
actions required to achieve the management goals of your Plan.
Publication of Plan of Management
For protected areas established or purchased with Australian Government funding,
once a Plan of Management is adopted, it should be made available for public access,
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
preferably by publishing on the internet. This will allow for transparency and
accountability in the use of public funds and the management of the protected area.
Management effectiveness
Under Caring for our Country, a primary target of the National Reserve System is to
ensure that new protected areas are managed effectively to maintain key biodiversity
values in a changing environment.
This target reflects nation-wide efforts to improve the management of protected areas
and the development of management, evaluation and reporting frameworks to support
protected area managers.
The Directions for the National Reserve Systems: A Partnership Approach (NRMMC
2005) outlines agreed national goals for improving protected area management in
Australia. Various studies by the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA)
provide the international context.
Management effectiveness frameworks
The WCPA is currently working with Parks Australia, Parks Victoria and the NSW
National Parks and Wildlife Service to develop new state of the parks reporting
processes based on the WCPA framework for evaluating the management
effectiveness of protected areas.
Meanwhile, the Directions for the National Reserve Systems: A Partnership Approach
(NRMMC 2005) addresses protected area management effectiveness. Management
effectiveness is further developed in the current revision of this national policy
document.
Some draft principles for the effective management of Australia’s National Reserve
System have been developed to provide some insight into what we are seeking to
achieve (Figure 1).
Management effectiveness evaluation can enable and support an adaptive approach to
management of protected areas by:
 assisting in effective resource allocation between and within sites
 promoting accountability and transparency by reporting on effectiveness of
management to interested stakeholders and the public
 involving the community, building constituency and promoting protected area
values (Hockings et al 2006).
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Figure 1. Draft principles for the effective management of protected areas
key components
- themes and
APPROPRIATE
INFORMED
ADAPTIVE
ACCOUNTABLE
Values driven
(Natural and
Cultural)
Information-based
decision making
that incorporates
science and local
and traditional
knowledge
Outcome focussed
and consistent with
WCPA framework
Meets corporate
reporting
requirements
Links with whole of
landscape
approaches to
natural resource
management and
bioregional/strategic
planning
Objectives and
outputs clearly
defined
Baseline monitoring
framework in place
Reports publicly
available in simple
terms and language
Protection
mechanism suitable
to context
Risks assessment
process in place
Ongoing investment
in research into
values and
management
outcomes
Facilitates State of
the Parks Reporting
Precautionary
Principle applied to
on-ground
management
actions
Supported by
appropriate data
systems
Supported by
suitable and
repeatable
analytical
techniques
Supports State of
the Environment
Reporting
Meets legal
requirements
Stakeholders
contacted and
engaged in decision
making
Transparent
evaluation
processes with peer
review
Meets or exceeds
industry standards
Equitable and builds
capacity of staff and
management
partners
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
Adaptive management
To ensure that appropriate use is made of NRS properties, the Australian Government
requires that all management is undertaken within an adaptive management
framework. Adaptive management allows information from the past to support and
improve the way properties are managed in the future. Management actions and the
condition of biodiversity are monitored and evaluated so that actions can be either
adopted or changed to most efficiently meet management objectives (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Protected Area Management Planning System
(Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania, 2000)
Monitoring and evaluation
Monitoring protected areas is undertaken for three main reasons:
 to assess the impact of various uses and activities on the natural and cultural
values
 to assess the condition and health of natural and cultural values
 to assess the effectiveness of management activities.
Evaluation of information gathered in the monitoring program can:
 enable and support an adaptive approach to management
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
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assist effective resource allocation
promote accountability and transparency
involve the community and build support for protected areas.
The key is developing a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) program which costeffectively captures meaningful information to inform future management and report
on progress against management objectives and targets.
This approach needs to be based on clearly defined and measurable indicators that can
provide meaningful feedback. When designing your M&E program, it is important to
consider the purpose of the evaluation. For some properties, the M&E program will be
fairly straightforward. However others will have specific reporting requirements to
governments or financial contributors for example, so tailoring your monitoring and
evaluation to their needs is important.
Managers also must carefully decide what to monitor and the appropriate resources
and time that this requires. It is impossible to monitor every change that occurs on a
property, so the M&E program must be balanced with the daily demands of protected
area management.
Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI)
Under the Caring for our Country ‘Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and
Improvement’ (MERI) program, the management of individual NRS properties will
be assessed against nationally consistent standards. This is to ensure that management
actions effectively protect significant values and improve resilience to climate change
and other pressures.
Through this program, protected area managers will be required to report broadly to
the Australian Government on the state of their protected area. It is also anticipated
that more rigorous scientific monitoring will be undertaken on NRS properties, at a
period of every five years. This MERI project is currently in development and more
details will be supplied to NRS managers in the future.
The following elements should be included in your M&E program:
 the health of regional ecosystems with emphasis on under-represented and
threatened regional ecosystems and regional ecosystems vulnerable to the
impacts of climate change
 the health of threatened species populations and species populations
vulnerable to the impact of climate change
 the health of key natural and cultural asset especially those vulnerable to the
impacts of climate change
 an assessment of management effectiveness, and
 a statement of measures to improve delivery of Caring for our Country
outcomes.
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
Structure of the Plan
Management planning documents should be appropriate and suit the nature of the
protected area. Once prepared, Plans should be subject to regular review and updating.
The structure of your Plan should focus on:
 identifying the values of the protected area
 assessing the condition or integrity of the values
 outlining the management approach required to conserve the integrity of the
area’s values.
The key content for the Plan of Management is provided below. This is only a guide:
the content of your Plan needs to be relevant to your property.
If you already have current management planning processes in place, please ensure
you have covered the following key content.
If you are writing a plan for an Indigenous Protected Area, please use the guidance
provided by the IPA section of Parks Australia.
Key content for the Plan of Management
Summary
Acknowledgements
Funding contributors to establish and manage the protected area
Contributors to the preparation of the plan of management
Table of Contents
Description of the protected area (include relevant maps and pictures)
Location
Natural values
 Climate including climate change projections
 Geology, landform and soils – geo-diversity and heritage
 Hydrology – surface and subsurface
 Species – flora and fauna – regional, state and national conservation
status
 Ecosystems – IBRA (Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of
Australia) regions through to local ecosystems – regional to national
conservation status
 Significant biodiversity - endemism, refuges, wetlands, migration,
assemblages
Environmental values
 Ecosystem services
 Carbon sequestration
Cultural values
 Indigenous – archaeology and social
 Non-indigenous – archaeology, recreation
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
Integrity of the values
Previous management
 Assets
 Threats
 Risks
Condition
 Present condition
 Past and future trends
Bioregional and landscape context
 IBRA
 Catchment
 Local Planning context – any known complementary protected areas in
the region
CAR contribution - How does the property contribute to the CAR system?
 Comprehensiveness at an IBRA level
 Representativeness at an IBRA Sub region level
Threats and threatening processes
 Invasive Species (animals and plants)
 Over-abundant species
 Fire
 Erosion
 Salinity/Acidity
 Mining
 Timber extraction
 Visitor use and impact
 Total grazing pressure
Vulnerability to change
 Climate change
 Water availability
 Land use
 Species distribution/new species
 Fire
Management Framework
Purpose of the protected area
Protection mechanism (e.g. details of any covenant, legislation, management
agreement or caveat, and legislative requirement in respect to endangered
species)
IUCN management category and management objectives
Joint Management
Management Issues
 Address the specific needs and management requirements of the
significant natural and cultural values of the protected area.
 Consider the implications of climate change on the protected area and
outline strategies to address the impact of climate change on the
protected area.
Objectives
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NRS Plan of Management Guidelines

Outline the objectives of the Plan and what you, the manager, intend to
achieve by implementing the Plan.
 Allowable uses and rules around these
Zoning (if any)
 The protected area may be zoned to reflect different management
objectives for the varying use of the protected area. An IUCN
protected area management category can be assigned to each type of
zone within the protected area.
 Allowable uses by Zone and rules around these
Actions
 Include a series of management issue-based actions which will be
carried out to achieve each of your management objectives, with
planned dates for implementation.
 Include details of the resources required to carry out the work in the
form of a realistic budget.
Monitoring
 Describe how you will measure that you have achieved the objectives.
Research
Management infrastructure
Plan of management review schedule
 Include details of when and how the Plan will be revised.
Supplementary plans and programs
 Visitor Management Plan
 Monitoring and evaluation program
 Fire Management Plan
 Threatened Species and Ecosystems Recovery Plan(s)
References
Appendicies
Species list
Ecosystems list
Annual Work program
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Examples of Plans of Management
State agencies
To see an example of a management plan developed by a state or territory agency,
please follow one of the links below.
 Queensland
http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/parks_and_forests/managing_parks_and_forests/managem
ent_plans_and_strategies/
 New South Wales
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/parkmanagement/ParkAndFireManagementPlan
sByCategory.htm
 South Australia
http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/management/plans.html
 Victoria
http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/1process.cfm?publication=7
 Tasmania
http://www.parks.tas.gov.au/index.aspx?base=5957
 Northern Territory
http://www.nt.gov.au/nreta/parks/manage/plans/index.html
 Western Australia
http://www.dec.wa.gov.au/management-and-protection/land-managementplanning/approved-management-plans.html
 Australian Capital Territory
http://www.tams.act.gov.au/play/parks_forests_and_reserves/policies_and_publicatio
ns/strategies,plans_and_reviews
References
Hockings, M. Stolton, S. Dudley, N. Leverington, F. and Courrau, J. (2006)
'Evaluating effectiveness: a framework for assessing the management of protected
areas’, IUCN: Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature. (2008). ‘Guidelines for Applying
Protected Area Management Categories’, Nigel Dudley (Ed.), Gland, Switzerland.
Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania. (2000) ‘Best Practice in Protected Area
Management Planning’. A Report to the ANZECC Working Group on National Park
and Protected Area Management.
http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/best-practice/reports/managementplanning/pubs/protected-area-management.pdf
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Glossary
CAR system  Comprehensive: examples of all types of regional-scale ecosystems in each
IBRA region should be included in the National Reserve System
 Adequate: sufficient levels of each ecosystem should be included within the
protected area network to provide ecological viability and to maintain the
integrity of populations, species and communities
 Representative: the inclusion of areas at a finer scale, to encompass the
variability of habitat within ecosystems.
IBRA – Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia
http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/nrs/science/ibra.html
IUCN – International Union for the Conservation of Nature
http://www.iucn.org/
IUCN Protected Area Management Categories
http://data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/PAPS-016.pdf
M&E – Monitoring and Evaluation
MERI – Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement
NRS – National Reserve System
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Appendix 1: Revised IUCN Protected Area Management Categories
(2008)
Category:
Category name
Category Ia:
Strict nature
reserve
description
primary objective
Strictly protected areas set aside to protect
biodiversity and also possibly geological/
geomorphological features, where human
visitation, use and impacts are strictly controlled
and limited to ensure protection of the
conservation values. Such protected areas can
serve as indispensable reference areas for
scientific research and monitoring
To conserve regionally, nationally or
globally outstanding ecosystems,
species (occurrences or aggregations)
and/or geodiversity features: these
attributes will have been formed
mostly or entirely by non-human
forces and will be degraded or
destroyed when subjected to all but
very light human impact
To protect the long-term ecological
integrity of natural areas that are
undisturbed by significant human
activity, free of modern infrastructure
and where natural forces and
processes predominate, so that
current and future generations have
the opportunity to experience such
areas
To protect natural biodiversity along
with its underlying ecological
structure and supporting
environmental processes, and to
promote education and recreation
Category Ib:
Wilderness area
Protected areas are usually large unmodified or
slightly modified areas, retaining their natural
character and influence, without permanent or
significant human habitation, which are
protected and managed so as to preserve their
natural condition
Category II:
National park
Protected areas are large natural or near natural
areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological
processes, along with the complement of species
and ecosystems characteristic of the area, which
also provide a foundation for environmentally
and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific,
educational, recreational and visitor
opportunities
Protected areas are set aside to protect a specific
natural monument, which can be a landform, sea
mount, submarine cavern, geological feature
such as a cave or even a living feature such as
an ancient grove. They are generally quite small
protected areas and often have high visitor value
Protected areas aim to protect particular species
or habitats and management reflects this
priority. Many category IV protected areas will
need regular, active interventions to address the
requirements of particular species or to maintain
habitats, but this is not a requirement of the
category
A protected area where the interaction of people
and nature over time has produced an area of
distinct character with significant ecological,
biological, cultural and scenic value: and where
safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is
vital to protecting and sustaining the area and its
associated nature conservation and other values
Protected areas are generally large, with much
of the area in a more-or-less natural condition
and where a proportion is under sustainable
natural resource management and where lowlevel use of natural resources compatible with
nature conservation is seen as one of the main
aims of the area
Category III:
Natural monument
or feature
Category IV:
Habitat/species
management area
Category V:
Protected
landscape/seascape
Category VI:
Protected area with
sustainable use of
natural resources
To protect specific outstanding
natural features and their associated
biodiversity and habitats
To maintain, conserve and restore
species and habitats
To protect and sustain important
landscapes/seascapes and the
associated nature conservation and
other values created by interactions
with humans through traditional
management practices
To protect natural ecosystems and
use natural resources sustainably,
when conservation and sustainable
use can be mutually beneficial
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Appendix 2 Detailed description of the IUCN Protected Area Management
Categories
Category Ia: Strict nature reserve
Category Ia are strictly protected areas set aside to protect biodiversity and also possibly
geological/ geomorphological features, where human visitation, use and impacts are strictly
controlled and limited to ensure protection of the conservation values. Such protected areas
can serve as indispensable reference areas for scientific research and monitoring.
Primary objective
 To conserve regionally, nationally or globally outstanding ecosystems, species
(occurrences or aggregations) and/or geodiversity features: these attributes will have been
formed mostly or entirely by non-human forces and will be degraded or destroyed when
subjected to all but very light human impact.
Other objectives

To preserve ecosystems, species and geodiversity features in a state as undisturbed by
recent human activity as possible;

To secure examples of the natural environment for scientific studies, environmental
monitoring and education, including baseline areas from which all avoidable access is
excluded;

To minimize disturbance through careful planning and implementation of research and
other approved activities;

To conserve cultural and spiritual values associated with nature.
Category Ib: Wilderness area
Category Ib protected areas are usually large unmodified or slightly modified areas, retaining
their natural character and influence, without permanent or significant human habitation,
which are protected and managed so as to preserve their natural condition
Primary objective
 To protect the long-term ecological integrity of natural areas that are undisturbed by
significant human activity, free of modern infrastructure and where natural forces and
processes predominate, so that current and future generations have the opportunity to
experience such areas.
Other objectives
 To provide for public access at levels and of a type which will maintain the wilderness
qualities of the area for present and future generations;
 To enable indigenous communities to maintain their traditional wilderness-based lifestyle
and customs, living at low density and using the available resources in ways compatible
with the conservation objectives;
 To protect the relevant cultural and spiritual values and non-material benefits to
indigenous or non-indigenous populations, such as solitude, respect for sacred-sites,
respect for ancestors etc;
 To allow for low-impact minimally invasive educational and scientific research activities,
when such activities cannot be conducted outside the wilderness area.
Category II: National park
Category II protected areas are large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect largescale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems
18
NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and culturally
compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities .
Primary objective

To protect natural biodiversity along with its underlying ecological structure and
supporting environmental processes, and to promote education and recreation1.
Other objectives:
 To manage the area in order to perpetuate, in as natural a state as possible, representative
examples of physiographic regions, biotic communities, genetic resources and unimpaired
natural processes;
 To maintain viable and ecologically functional populations and assemblages of native
species at densities sufficient to conserve ecosystem integrity and resilience in the long
term;
 To contribute in particular to conservation of wide-ranging species, regional ecological
processes and migration routes;
 To manage visitor use for inspirational, educational, cultural, and recreational purposes at
a level which will not cause significant biological or ecological degradation to the natural
resources;
 To take into account the needs of indigenous people and local communities, including
subsistence resource use, in so far as these will not adversely affect the primary
management objective;
 To contribute to local economies through tourism.
Category III: Natural monument or feature
Category III protected areas are set aside to protect a specific natural monument, which can be
a landform, sea mount, submarine cavern, geological feature such as a cave or even a living
feature such as an ancient grove. They are generally quite small protected areas and often
have high visitor value.
Primary objective

To protect specific outstanding natural features and their associated biodiversity and
habitats.
Other objectives:

To provide biodiversity protection in landscape or seascapes that have otherwise
undergone major changes2;

To protect specific natural sites with spiritual and/or cultural values where these also
have biodiversity values;

To conserve traditional spiritual and cultural values of the site.
Category IV: Habitat/species management area
Category IV protected areas aim to protect particular species or habitats and management
reflects this priority. Many category IV protected areas will need regular, active interventions
Note that the name “national park” is not exclusively linked to Category II. Places called national parks exist in
all the categories (and there are even some national parks that are not protected areas at all). The name is used here
because it is descriptive of Category II protected areas in many countries. The fact that an area is called a “national
park is independent of its management approach. In particular, the term “national park” should never be used as a
way of dispossessing people of their land.
1
2
Noting that protection of specific cultural sites can often provide havens of natural or semi-natural habitat in
areas that have otherwise undergone substantial modification – e.g. ancient trees around temples
19
NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
to address the requirements of particular species or to maintain habitats, but this is not a
requirement of the category.
Primary objective
 To maintain, conserve and restore species and habitats3.
Other objectives:
 To protect vegetation patterns or other biological features through traditional management
approaches;
 To protect fragments of habitats as components of landscape or seascape scale
conservation strategies;
 To develop public education and appreciation of the species and/or habitats concerned;
 To provide a means by which the urban residents may obtain regular contact with nature.
Category V: Protected landscape/seascape
A protected area where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of
distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural and scenic value: and where
safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is vital to protecting and sustaining the area and
its associated nature conservation and other values.
Primary objective
 To protect and sustain important landscapes/seascapes and the associated nature
conservation and other values created by interactions with humans through traditional
management practices.
Other objectives
 To maintain a balanced interaction of nature and culture through the protection of
landscape and/or seascape and associated traditional management approaches, societies,
cultures and spiritual values;
 To contribute to broadscale conservation by maintaining species associated with cultural
landscapes and/or by providing conservation opportunities in heavily used landscapes;
 To provide opportunities for enjoyment, well-being and socio-economic activity through
recreation and tourism;
 To provide natural products and environmental services;
 To provide a framework to underpin active involvement by the community in the
management of valued landscapes or seascapes and the natural and cultural heritage that
they contain;
 To encourage the conservation of agrobiodiversity and aquatic biodiversity;
 To act as models of sustainability so that lessons can be learnt for wider application.
Category VI: Protected area with sustainable use of natural resources
Category VI protected areas are generally large, with much of the area in a more-or-less
natural condition and where a proportion is under sustainable natural resource management
and where low-level use of natural resources compatible with nature conservation is seen as
one of the main aims of the area.
Primary objective
3
This is a change from the 1994 guidelines, which defined category IV as protected areas that need regular
management interventions. The change has been made because this was the only category to be defined by the
process of management rather than the final objective and because in doing so it meant that small reserves aimed
to protect habitats or individual species tended to fall outside the category system.
20
NRS Plan of Management Guidelines
 To protect natural ecosystems and use natural resources sustainably, when conservation
and sustainable use can be mutually beneficial.
Other objectives
 To promote sustainable use of natural resources, considering ecological, economic and
social dimensions;
 To promote social and economic benefits to local communities where relevant;
 To facilitate inter-generational security for local communities’ livelihoods – therefore
ensuring that such livelihoods are sustainable;
 To integrate other cultural approaches, belief systems and world-views within a range of
social and economic approaches to nature conservation;
 To develop and/or maintain a more balanced relationship between humans and the rest of
nature;
 To contribute to sustainable development at national, regional and local level (in the last
case mainly to local communities and/or indigenous peoples depending on the protected
natural resources);
 To facilitate scientific research and environmental monitoring, mainly related to the
conservation and sustainable use of natural resources;
 To collaborate in the delivery of benefits to people, mostly local communities, living in or
near to the designated protected area;
 To facilitate recreation and appropriate small-scale tourism.
21
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