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  • Published on: 15th October 2019
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Problem''ticas de las ''reas naturales protegidas

The probems of natural protected areas

The International Union for Nature and Culture (IUNC) defines a protected area as:  

An area of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and of associated cultural and natural resources, and managed through legal or other effective means. (IUCN 1994).

The growing presence of protected areas has continued to ensure the future of life and preservation of endangered species taking preventative approaches against extinction of species of plants and animals through many efforts aligned with the protection of biodiversity. Protected areas also safeguard natural recourses and their life span which have a profound impact on the livelihood of nature's inhabitants: plants, animals and of course humans due to their positive and far reaching effects on global warming and natural disasters such as hurricanes and landslides, for example. In the face of culture, protected areas support its longevity as these areas are linked to that which define and have contributed to the identity and way of life of the local community. Additionally, perhaps the economic contributions are one of the most outstanding features to some as protected areas make possible employment opportunities, encourage foreign exchange through tourism, for instance, which helps to develop countries.

Amid all of the above benefits received through the continuity and presence of protected natural areas there exists a number of challenges that come about as it relates to their management and implementation. While many have agreed and understood the future implications of encouraging protected areas there are those who have created movements to resist and limit the presence of increased protected areas (Rowell 1995). This is as a result of the restrictions place on the development of what may be seen as prime areas of land and water sources that can be used to provide economic gains.

In areas that where initiatives are being made for their conversion to protected areas, there exists another constraint due to the impact on the local community who have developed and establishment on these lands. A struggle exists between organizations that are employed with the task of managing and designating protected areas and the local community in relation to the relevant stipulations and restrictions that encompass the guidelines of protected areas. In terms of the displacement and prohibitive measures of people and agricultural practices for example create conflict as the local community see these initiatives as an interruption in their livelihood.

It is important to note therefore that a cordial relationship between the powers involved in the management of protected natural areas and the local community is important. There needs to be efforts put in place to educate the local community on the advantages and necessity of protected areas, that is to say the two entities must work together.

A relevant example of the role that the local community can play in support of those objectives of protected areas and conservation is seen in the initiatives taken by the Hupa people, who have since 1989 achieved self-governance of the Hoopa Valley Indian Valley in northwestern California. While it is acknowledged that these types of tribes have a greater appreciation for the land due to their beliefs than the average man, the part played by the local community geared at protecting the environment can be very beneficial. In the document referenced below on the Hoopa Tribe, there is mention of the interest by the tribe's organizational leaders to develop a relationship with the Wildlife Conservation Society to gain a comprehensive understanding of those factors that affect their valley so as to maintain its sustainability. This further shows the degree to which the local community can assist in the furtherance of the objectives of conservation and protected area management.

As we observed the degree of population increase and development today, we realize that this too puts a strain on protected areas due to the need of having to sustain and provide for these populations and the rate of development. In the Hoopa Valley for example there has been a challenge of the conservation efforts and the need to provide economically for their people through the harvesting of trees which is their major source of survival. As we look around this conflict exists in all spheres and directly impact protected areas when we combat to prioritize the needs of the people to survive through the use of the natural recourses against the need to maintain protected areas.

Notably, although the challenges of one protected area may have similar faces to that of others, each protected area has its peculiarities and as such its problems should be attended to through appropriate measures, taking into consideration the views and impact on the local community and those of the authorities put in charge to manage these protected areas.

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