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Financing protected areas

TitleFinancing protected areas
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsPhillips A
Keywordsconservation, Costa Rica, ecosystem, financement, management, New Zealand, protected area, tourism

Despite their universal appeal for recreation, tourism, conservation and ecosystem services, few if any natural protected areas in the world enjoy a fully funded status. This imposes limits both on the conservation programmes which can be undertaken and the services which can be offered to visitors. With more resources more can always be done.The aim of these Guidelines is to provide protected area managers with information about financing their protected areas and where to look for finance beyond existing sources. Access to funds is becoming increasingly important for effective management, so these Guidelines should be of growing value. Protected area financing is now core business for protected area managers, and the body of knowledge is rapidly expanding. As protected area managers come to grips with the challenge of financing their protected areas, case studies and written material will be developed which add to the collective body of knowledge. Whether positive or negative, such experience is an important learning tool and should be made available for others. Accordingly these Guidelines will be updated as new material becomes available; and updates and new case studies will be made available at the website.Part A of these guidelines has covered a lot of ground which may be difficult and new to some protected area managers. This summary reviews the lessons covered in this guide and suggests how managers can get started in securing more sustainable financing for their protected areas.The first step is to recognise that protected areas exist for a number of reasons which are embedded in a culture and tradition which respects and seeks to preserve nature and our natural surroundings. This ethic is reflected in the management strategies of protected areas and should be respected in every action which is taken to secure sustainable financing. Financial sustainability means nothing if the core aspects of theprotected area are not maintained. On the other hand, the core aspects of the protected area cannot be maintained in the absence of sufficient financing. Thus, the business and financial plans are embedded in the management plan, but the management plan relies on a successful business and financial plan. The protected area manager needs to recognise and clearly state the core mission and objectives of the protected area and the main financial needs for maintaining the area. He or she can then identify the range of potential customers who are willing to pay for thegoods and services they derive from the protected area. These customers may either directly or indirectly use the protected area; they range from neighbouring communities to global stakeholders. When these customer groups have been identified, the protected area manager needs to consider how their needs should be addressed and how they can contribute financially to maintaining the protected area.The protected area manager should then draw this information together into a business plan, which includes additional elements such as a market analysis and strategy, and a detailed financial plan. The financial plan sets out how much the protected area expects to make from the products it sells, a realistic timeline for achieving profits, the risks involved in pursuing a particular product line, and how the cash flow from the sales ofgoods and services will match the cash needs of the protected area management plan.

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