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Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories

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The following guidelines are offered to help in application of the IUCN protected area management categories, which classify protected areas according to their management objectives. The categories are recognised by international bodies such as the United Nations and by many national governments as the global standard for defining and recording protected areas and as such are increasingly being incorporated into government legislation. For example, the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas “recognizes the value of a single international classification system for protected areas and the benefit of providing information that is comparable across countries and regions and therefore welcomes the ongoing efforts of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas to refine the IUCN system of categories … ”

The guidelines provide as much clarity as possible regarding the meaning and application of the categories. They describe the definition and the categories and discuss application in particular biomes and management approaches.

Dudley N (ed) (2008). Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories, IUCN, Gland. WITH Stolton S, Shadie P & Dudley N (2013).

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