Environmental Management

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 715–727 | Cite as

Building Capacity for Protected Area Management in Lao PDR

  • Madhu RaoEmail author
  • Arlyne Johnson
  • Kelly Spence
  • Ahnsany Sypasong
  • Nora Bynum
  • Eleanor Sterling
  • Thavy Phimminith
  • Bounthob Praxaysombath


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 



We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Blue Moon Fund, American Museum of Natural History, The Lao Environment and Social Project (LEnS, funded by the World Bank) and the Wildlife Conservation Society. This work was implemented under a Memorandum of Agreement with the National University of Laos as part of the Biodiversity Cooperation Project. The Australian Youth Ambassadors in Development (AYAD) and the Volunteers for International Development from Australia (VIDA) serving with the WCS Lao Program provided invaluable technical support throughout the NCEP project. We would like to profusely thank the authors and reviewers of the NCEP modules utilized in the project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madhu Rao
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Arlyne Johnson
    • 3
    • 7
  • Kelly Spence
    • 3
    • 8
  • Ahnsany Sypasong
    • 3
  • Nora Bynum
    • 4
    • 9
  • Eleanor Sterling
    • 4
  • Thavy Phimminith
    • 5
  • Bounthob Praxaysombath
    • 6
  1. 1.Wildlife Conservation SocietyTanglin International CentreSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  3. 3.Wildlife Conservation Society Lao PDR ProgramVientianeLao PDR
  4. 4.Centre for Biodiversity and ConservationAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Faculty of ScienceNational University of LaosVientianeLao PDR
  6. 6.Faculty of ForestryNational University of LaosVientianeLao PDR
  7. 7.Foundations of SuccessBethesdaUSA
  8. 8.Tasmanian Institute of AgricultureUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia
  9. 9.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA

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