Our vision


A challenge with multiple visions

Protected areas are defined geographical regions recognised, dedicated and managed to achieve the long term conservation of nature. The terrestrial and marine protected areas vary in size, purpose and management approach. The number of sites has increased over time: The North American region has 34,000 protected areas while in Europe, more than 100,000 sites were designated in 2017. These natural landscapes contribute to well-being and influence human activities. But human activities and behaviours also leave their trace on the landscape in the form of environmental pressures and use of natural resources.

1. Forestry
2. Tourism
3. Water resources
4. Land-use change
5. Climate change
6. Invasive species
7. Use of natural resources
8. Governance
9. Mining

Different visions influence protected area management

The management of protected areas varies widely from one area to another, influenced by different visions of how nature should be conserved and related different governance structures.  For example, the ‘nature for people’ vision prioritises values and management objectives that support human uses and services from the environment, whereas a ‘nature despite people’ vision prioritises management objectives that preserve biodiversity, often in isolation of human activity.


Considering multiple visions and scenarios for protected area management

This emerging framework recognizes the variety of connections people make with natural areas and the landscapes in which they live. It opens up a dialogue across the various stakeholders of a protected area, such as recreational users, local residents, local businesses, land managers, agriculture, researchers or local governments.

The results of the dialogue can be used by local, regional and national protected area managers and policy makers for designing policies and strategies that support updates to:

The approach holds promise for identifying current visions and collectively defining new visions and associated protected area management strategies. In doing so, it leads to a set of policies and practices for sustainable use of natural resources.

Improving biodiversity and human well-being

Connecting people to the development of protected area policies and practices