In their most recent editions, eco-mont wrote two interesting editorials on the mission of Protected Areas (PAs).
The general trend regarding PAs administration is to favor touristic and local development over preservation, education and research – PAs core mission.
With his 30 years of experience as a coordinator for the Research Council of the Swiss National Park, Thomas Scheurer explains that three factors are pushing PAs to invest in image building, branding, touristic offers and facilities:
- A change in social demand. Today’s PAs are expected to be a resource for local and touristic development.
- Economic development is preferred to nature conservation since it is dynamic and based on new technologies, giving an image of progress whereas conservation is seen as being static and only produces results on the long term.
- PAs tend to build a strong institutional presence in order to successfully interact with the governance system they are part of and, in particular, with municipalities and provinces.
The author finds two particularly simple and effective solutions: putting a limit (fixed percentage) on funds for institutional investments and separating management conservation from nature marketing management.
Eco-mont’s latest edition opens with an editorial by Herbert Wölger, the Managing Director of Gesäuse National Park. The author tries to address the matter from the perspective of PA managers and underlines that all managers should respect their core mission of conservation and, at the same time, contribute to regional development. However, he acknowledges the existence of a major problem: “We receive applause for short-term economic development but little recognition for long-term ecological conservation.”
PAs have one major challenge, gathering long-term funding for long-term results in nature conservation. If European instruments like LIFE program allow PAs to start pursuing their core mission, their limited duration still constitutes a major obstacle in the long run.
The editorial ends with some examples of nature conservation measures that can benefit PAs.
This is an invitation to develop new and innovative ways to find a conciliation between economic development and nature conservation by exploiting the first to enhance the second.
We invite you to read the full articles at the following links: