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Arguments For and Against IUCN Protected Area Management Category VI with a Review of State versus Community Governance

Shafer, Craig L.
Journal for nature conservation 2019
attitudes and opinions, biodiversity, biodiversity conservation, collaborative management, conservation areas, governance, land tenure, land use, models, socioeconomics, sustainable development
My goal in Shafer (2015) was to bring attention to the questionable effectiveness of IUCN protected area (PA) Categories V-VI in preserving biological diversity. I also argued that the primary factors which ensure success in preserving the PA core include the selective allowance of land uses in buffer zones external to the PA and the creation of effective bodies to govern that usage. My first task in this essay is to summarize, update, and elaborate on the arguments for Category VI and contrast those with arguments against it. Methodology for this endeavor included examining the literature and extracting pertinent research findings and reasoned opinions that either supported or refuted Category VI as a successful biodiversity conservation model. Included is an in depth discussion of the controversial idea of sustainable development, a component of Category VI. My concern is that the required internal socio-economic areas of Category VI might harbor some so-called sustainable development activity that is not compatible with protecting the integrity of a reserve. My second task was to list the arguments for local community governance and then for state governance, the former also a typical component of Category VI. To this end, my opinion is that excluding state governance of any form is not realistic or wise. Related factors discussed are land tenure, co-management and buffer zones. I conclude that 1) the co-management of protected areas with the state is a promising alternative, and 2) the downsides of Category VI are convincing enough to warrant reassessment of this PA management category.