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Legal Framework for Protected Areas: South Africa I IUCN

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This case study considers South Africa’s contemporary protected areas regime, as principally reflected
in the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 2003. It commences with a discussion
of the key challenges which compelled the government to rethink its approach to protected areas
including: poor conservation planning; the adoption of an exclusionary approach to conservation;
exceedingly fragmented institutional and legislative frameworks; inconsistent declaration and
protection procedures; inadequate management procedures; and resource constraints. The analysis
then turns to discuss the key components of the nation’s contemporary protected areas regime and
considers the manner in which it seeks to overcome many of these challenges through the prescription
of clear and comprehensive procedures for: identifying and declaring areas worthy of conservation;
incorporating, within a hierarchical structure of protected areas, state, communal and private land;
enabling state, communal and private landowners to manage these areas; providing incentives to
private and communal landowners contracting land into, or managing, protected areas; and enabling
various forms of community-based natural resource management within and adjacent to protected

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