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National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas

National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas

National Framework for Canada's Network of Marine Protected Areas (PDF, 845 KB)

Table of Contents

Annex 2: IUCN Guidelines

2.1 Key elements of the IUCN definition of a marine protected area

Key elements of the IUCN definition of a protected areaFootnote 20 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 low-flying aircraft or in marine protected areas when a certain water depth is protected or the seabed is protected but water above is not: conversely subsurface areas sometimes are notprotected (e.g., are open for mining).
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).
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.
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.
protected areas should be managed in perpetuity and not as short term or a temporary management strategy.
refers to the in situ maintenance of ecosystems and natural and semi-natural habitats and of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings.
always refers to biodiversity, at 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.

2.2 Summary of IUCN protected area management categories and their use in evaluating marine protected areas

The 2008 IUCN document also includes a full description of each of the six categories of protected area management. Brief summaries of these descriptions 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.
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