Canada-British Columbia Marine Protected Area Network Strategy

Table of Contents

  1. Complete Text
  2. Preface
  3. Introduction
  4. The Need to Plan MPA Networks
  5. What is an MPA? What is an MPA Network?
  6. Vision and Goals for a Network of Marine Protected Areas on the Pacific Coast of Canada
  7. Planning Principles
  8. Planning Regions for Marine Protected Area Networks
  9. Governance
  10. Moving Forward
  11. Appendix 1. Marine Ecosystem Stressors in the North East Pacific
  12. Appendix 2. Protected Area Legislation in Pacific Canada
  13. Appendix 3. International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories
  14. Background Documents and References

Appendix 3. International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories

What is the IUCN

Founded in 1948, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) brings together states, government agencies and a diverse range of non-governmental organizations in a unique world partnership with over 1000 members in all, spread across some 160 countries. As a union, IUCN seeks to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. IUCN builds on the strengths of its members, networks and partners to enhance their capacity and to support global alliances to safeguard natural resources at local, regional and global levels. www.iucn.org

Protected Area Management Categories

The IUCN protected area management categories are a global framework, recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity, for categorizing the variety of protected area management types. In applying the categories system, the first step is to determine whether or not the site meets the definition of a protected area and the second step is to decide on the most suitable category. Some protected areas will fall naturally into one or another category, but in other cases the distinctions will be less obvious and will require in-depth analysis of options. Because assignment of a category depends on the management objectives, it depends more on what the management authority intends for the site rather than on any strict and inviolable set of criteria.

Brief summaries of the protected area categories are given below.

Category Ia
Strictly protected areas set aside to protect biodiversity and also possibly geological/geomorphological features, where human visitation, use and impacts are strictly controlled and limited to ensure protection of the conservation values. Such protected areas can serve as indispensable reference areas for scientific research and monitoring.
Category Ib
Usually large unmodified or slightly modified areas, retaining their natural character and influence, without permanent or significant human habitation, which are protected and managed so as to preserve their natural condition.
Category II
Large natural or near natural areas set aside to protect large-scale ecological processes, along with the complement of species and ecosystems characteristic of the area, which also provide a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities.
Category III
Set aside to protect a specific natural monument, which can be a landform, sea mount, submarine cavern, geological feature such as a cave or even a living component such as a specific coralline feature. They are generally quite small protected areas and often have high visitor value.
Category IV
Aim to protect particular species or habitats and management reflects this priority. Many category IV protected areas will need regular, active interventions to address the requirements of particular species or to maintain habitats, but this is not a requirement of the category.
Category V
Areas where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural and scenic value and where safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is vital to protecting and sustaining the area and its associated nature conservation and other values.
Category VI
Conserve ecosystems and habitats, together with associated cultural values and traditional natural resource management systems. They are generally large, with most of the area in a natural condition, where a proportion is under sustainable natural resource management and where low-level non-industrial use of natural resources compatible with nature conservation is seen as one of the main aims of the area.

PHOTO: © CHARLIE SHORT

PHOTO: © CHARLIE SHORT

PHOTO: © DOUG BIFFARD

IUCN Definition of a Protected Area

"A clearly defined geographical space recognized, dedicated, and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values".

Key elements of the IUCN definition of an MPA are listed and described below.

Clearly Defined
implies a spatially defined area with agreed and demarcated borders. These borders can sometimes be defined by physical features that move over time (e.g., river banks) or by management actions (e.g., agreed no-take zones).
Geographical Space
includes land, inland water, marine and coastal areas or a combination of two or more of these. 'Space' has three dimensions, e.g., as when the airspace above a protected area is protected from lowflying aircraft or in MPAs when a certain water depth is protected or the seabed is protected but water above is not. Conversely, subsurface areas sometimes are not protected (e.g., are open for mining).
Recognized
implies that protection can include a range of governance types declared by people as well as those identified by the state, but that such sites should be recognised in some way (in particular through listing on the World Database on Protected Areas – WDPA).
Dedicated
implies specific binding commitment to conservation in the long term through, e.g., international conventions and agreements; national, provincial and local law; customary law; covenants of non-government organizations; private trusts and company policies and certification schemes.
Managed
assumes some active steps to conserve the natural (and possibly other) values for which the protected area was established; note that 'managed' can include a decision to leave the area untouched if this is the best conservation strategy.
Legal or Other Effective Means
means that protected areas must either be gazetted (that is, recognised under statutory civil law), recognised through an international convention or agreement or else managed through other effective but non-gazetted means, such as through recognised traditional rules under which community conserved areas operate or the policies of established non-governmental organisations.
To Achieve
implies some level of effectiveness. Although the category will be determined by objective, management effectiveness will progressively be recorded on the World Database on Protected Areas and over time will become an important contributory criterion in identification and recognition of protected areas.
Long-Term
protected areas should be managed in perpetuity and not as short term or a temporary management strategy.
Conservation
refers to the in situ maintenance of ecosystems and natural and semi-natural habitats and of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings.
Nature
always refers to biodiversity at the genetic, species and ecosystem level and often also refers to geodiversity, landform and broader natural values.
Associated Ecosystem Services
ecosystem services that are related to but do not interfere with the aim of nature conservation (e.g., provisioning services such as food and water; regulating services such as regulation of floods, drought, land degradation, and disease; supporting services such as soil formation and nutrient cycling; and cultural services such as recreational, spiritual, religious and other nonmaterial benefits).
Cultural Values
includes those that do not interfere with the conservation outcome (all cultural values in a protected area should meet this criterion), including in particular those that contribute to conservation outcomes (e.g., traditional management practices on which key species have become reliant) and those that are themselves under threat.
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