Best Practice in Protected Area Management Planning - Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania 2000


A Report to the ANZECC Working Group on National Park and Protected Area Management
Parks and Wildlife Service Tasmania 2000

About this document

Management planning processes and practices in Australia, New Zealand and North American park management agencies are identified and reviewed.

All Australian and New Zealand agencies are required by legislation to produce management plans for protected areas. Legislative requirements vary, but the management planning processes used by all agencies are broadly similar. A comparison of processes is made and a model of the general process presented.

Current 'good practices' used by agencies in management planning are identified rather than one 'best practice' model. This approach recognises different planning settings and the inevitability of change. The concept of 'good practice' also fits better with a culture of continuing improvement. A framework of 'good practice' considerations for use in the management planning process is proposed.

With a continuing trend toward leaner "issue-focussed" management plans, most agencies will have achieved full or near full planning coverage of the higher status, high use protected areas and, in cases where broadscale planning is used, all reserves by 2001.

An impressive aspect of the management planning work being done across Australia and New Zealand is the integrated approach being adopted, where all aspects of conservation and use are considered during the planning process, the community are generally involved from an early stage and the final plan is thoroughly scrutinised before being given high level approval.

Use of targets has hastened the preparation of plans in many agencies. However, overzealous adherence to set targets and timelines may compromise the quality of the management plan/or reduce public involvement and confidence in the process.

Many good practices have been identified for each stage in the planning process. It is recommended that these tools be provided, and others added when available, on the ANZECC web site for ongoing information exchange and improvement in management planning.

Aspects of management planning identified as needing improvement/development across all agencies include:

  • effective involvement of indigenous people in management planning;
  • integrating management plans with policy and strategy planning, budgeting and development planning processes;
  • monitoring, evaluating and reporting on the implementation of plans and the effectiveness of plans in meeting management objectives for protected areas;
  • use of the internet to facilitate public consultation and for release of draft and final management plans.

It is recommended that the e-mail network of planners from Australian and New Zealand agencies be maintained to facilitate discussion and exchange of information on these priorities.