Environmental Management

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 715-727

First online:

Building Capacity for Protected Area Management in Lao PDR

  • Madhu RaoAffiliated withWildlife Conservation Society, Tanglin International CentreDepartment of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore Email author 
  • , Arlyne JohnsonAffiliated withWildlife Conservation Society Lao PDR ProgramFoundations of Success
  • , Kelly SpenceAffiliated withWildlife Conservation Society Lao PDR ProgramTasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania
  • , Ahnsany SypasongAffiliated withWildlife Conservation Society Lao PDR Program
  • , Nora BynumAffiliated withCentre for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural HistoryDuke University
  • , Eleanor SterlingAffiliated withCentre for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History
  • , Thavy PhimminithAffiliated withFaculty of Science, National University of Laos
  • , Bounthob PraxaysombathAffiliated withFaculty of Forestry, National University of Laos

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Declining biodiversity in protected areas in Laos is attributed to unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. At a basic level, an important need is to develop capacity in academic and professional training institutions to provide relevant training to conservation professionals. The paper (a) describes the capacity building approach undertaken to achieve this goal, (b) evaluates the effectiveness of the approach in building capacity for implementing conservation and (c) reviews implementation outcomes. Strong linkages between organizations implementing field conservation, professional training institutions, and relevant Government agencies are central to enhancing effectiveness of capacity building initiatives aimed at improving the practice of conservation. Protected area management technical capacity needs will need to directly influence curriculum design to insure both relevance and effectiveness of training in improving protected area management. Sustainability of capacity building initiatives is largely dependent on the level of interest and commitment by host-country institutions within a supportive Government policy framework in addition to engagement of organizations implementing conservation.


Lao PDR Capacity building Biodiversity conservation Protected area management