Environmental Conservation

Main Papers

National Parks and Other Protected Areas: Some Reflections on the Past and Prescriptions for the Future*

Harold K. Eidsvika1

a1 Executive Officer, IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 1196 Gland, Switzerland; formerly Deputy Chairman, IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas and Senior Policy Adviser to Parks, Canada.

The World Conservation Strategy stresses the maintenance of essential ecological processes and life-support systems, preservation of genetic diversity, and sustainable use of species and ecosystems—in brief, the integration of conservation with development. The present paper traces shifts in conservation policy, which originnally saw national parks as islands isolated from their surrounding communities, through to the evolving concept of protected areas integrated with development programmes. It stresses the need for protected areas, and notes that only about 2% of the world's continental land-mass can be so classified. It is thereofre imperative for the survival of Nature and Man that a closer linkage be established between protection and development functions in such a way that both are seen as essential from a social and economic viewpoint.

The continuing exploitive pressures on living natural resources are noted, and suggestions are made towards mitigating the impact of armed conflict and increasing financing for protected areas in order to achieve conservation and development objectives.


* Based on a paper presented by the Author at the Central and West African Conference on Protected Areas, Ouagadougou, Upper Volta, 5 February 1980.