Environmental Management

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 89–100

Trends in Global Protected Area Governance,1992–2002


DOI: 10.1007/s00267-004-0131-9

Cite this article as:
Dearden, P., Bennett, M. & Johnston, J. Environmental Management (2005) 36: 89. doi:10.1007/s00267-004-0131-9


Governance refers to the interactions among structures, processes, and traditions that determine direction, how power is exercised, and how the views of citizens or stakeholders are incorporated into decision-making. Governance is now recognized as a critical aspect of effective conservation and is a prominent part of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s work program on protected areas. This study reports on a global survey to assess changes in governance of protected area systems between 1992 and 2002 based on responses from 41 countries. Results indicate that substantial changes have taken place with overall trends towards increased participation of more stakeholders, greater use of formal accountability mechanisms, and a wider range of participatory techniques. Many of these changes are supported by legislative and policy requirements and 75% of respondents reported changes in legislation over the past decade. Protected areas are becoming more influenced by global forces. A majority of respondents reported increased involvement of the private sector. Funding is coming from a broader range of sources, with a smaller proportion of income coming from government sources in 2002. Absolute funding amounts have increased, but almost two-thirds report that budgets fall short of requirements. Almost 90% of respondents felt that protected area governance had improved over the last decade; 67% felt that this had also led to improved management effectiveness. Respondents felt that secure funding, capacity building, and increased community involvement were the main governance needs for the future.


National park agenciesDecision-makingStakeholder participationAccountabilityFundingCapacity-building

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Dearden
    • 1
  • Michelle Bennett
    • 1
  • Jim Johnston
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Parks Canada AgencyOttawaCanada