Protected Areas as a legitimate land use

09 August 2013 | Article

The implementation of the BIOPAMA Capacity Building Programme in Eastern and Southern Africa, and in particular the work of the Regional Observatories in the region, will be centred around the theme of land use conflict and integrated land use planning.

In the consultations for the Capacity Building Programme for BIOPAMA in the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) region, a threat-based approach was used to refine the focus of the Programme. Land use conflict with other sectors was highlighted as a major threat to protected areas, now and into the future. Examples include increased demand for agricultural land, mining, and general development activities. In addition, there are indirect impacts from inappropriate land use around protected areas such as human-wildlife conflict that may occur due to agriculture and wildlife corridors occupying the same space. All of these demands and conflicts are impacting protected areas in some way, and this will increasingly force decision-makers to evaluate (or re-evaluate) land uses for these areas and surrounding lands, and decide on the most appropriate uses for the future.

The focus of the BIOPAMA Capacity Building Programme in the ESA region will therefore be on tackling this major threat to protected areas by working with various levels of decision-makers from the protected area manager level to the national protected area agencies and national and regional government representatives. The core concept is that protected areas are a legitimate land use now and in the future. A better understanding of the value of protected areas from an economic, social and biodiversity perspective in a national and international context is central to ensuring a balanced evaluation of land uses. In addition, understanding the current trends in land uses around protected areas will aid improved decision-making for those areas.

Land use conflict and integrated land use planning links closely to global priorities for protected areas, in particular Goal 1.2 of the Programme of Work for Protected Areas (POWPA) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Note:

Goal 1.2 of the Programme of Work for Protected Areas of the CBD: To integrate protected areas into broader land- and seascapes and sectors so as to maintain ecological structure and function

Target: By 2015, all protected areas and protected area systems are integrated into the wider land- and seascape, and relevant sectors, by applying the ecosystem approach and taking into account ecological connectivity [70]/ and the concept, where appropriate, of ecological networks.