Comparative analysis of four international methodologies used to evaluate protected area management effectiveness : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Environmental Management at Massey University, New Zealand

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Massey University
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Around the world, protected areas have been created with the objective of conserving natural and cultural heritage. To monitor how effectively this objective is being achieved, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA) proposed that periodical evaluations of the management of protected areas should be conducted. These evaluations have the objective of monitoring improvements or deteriorations of the management of the PAs and their conservation outputs and outcomes. They can be carried out using different methodologies, widely referred to as protected area management effectiveness evaluations (PAMEs). In 2000, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) established a framework to guide the creation of PAME methodologies. Based on this framework several methodologies have been developed around the world. However, they all focus on evaluating different aspects of management, producing different types of results. Previous studies describing these methodologies have been conducted, but an in depth comparative analysis has not yet been published. This thesis seeks to conduct a comprehensive analysis to compare the fundamental characteristics of four of the most commonly used PAME methodologies: the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT), the Rapid Assessment and Prioritization of Protected Area Management (RAPPAM), the Enhancing our Heritage Toolkit (EoH), and the Site Consolidation Scorecard (SCS). Content analysis was used to compare and contrast these four PAME methodologies. Categories based on the IUCN´s framework for the creation of PAMEs were used to organise and compare the indicators used by each methodology. The quantities and characteristics of the indicators were assessed to identify their viability, similarities and differences. The aim was to build upon the current literature to inform potential users about the different approaches these methodologies take, and to help them make an informed decision about which one to use. It was found that the four methodologies evaluate different themes, elements and criteria thereby generating different types of information regarding protected area management. They also use different levels of detail in their indicators and need different sources of information to be completed. It was also found that all four methodologies are weak in assessing the delivery of protected area objectives, they predominately use ordinal approaches to assess indicators, and lack comprehensive weighted scoring systems. It is argued that these shared shortcomings provide scope for potential improvements in future versions of these methodologies or new PAMEs. These results add new information to existing knowledge about the similarities and differences between methodologies and their individual strengths and weaknesses. It is argued that developing a better understanding of the unique characteristics of individual PAMEs may contribute to a better realisation of their full potential.
Protected areas, Management, Evaluation