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Our Members are practitioners and university faculty that are experts in various aspects of protected areas policy and management. Review Membership Guidelines and Application Form.

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Protected Areas 101

Definition of Protected Area
Protected Areas Development in the Caribbean
Glossary of Terms

Definition of Protected Area

A protected area is a clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values (International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 2008).

Protected area is a general term covering several types of sites, designated and managed to meet different objectives. Types of protected areas commonly found in the Caribbean are: national park, marine park, forest reserve, protected forest, wildlife reserve, natural monument, and fish sanctuary.

Six categories of protected areas are defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); (1a) Strict Nature Reserve, (1b) Wilderness Area, (2) National Park, (3) Natural Monument, (4) Habitat/Species Management Area, (5) Protected Landscape/ Seascape, and (6) Managed Resource Protected Area. Sites of international importance (e.g. World Heritage and Ramsar Sites) may also fall within one of the six categories. Alternately, sites falling under one of the IUCN categories may be located within a larger conservation area, such as a Biosphere Reserve. However, many countries create protected areas that do not fit within these six IUCN categories.

Protected areas are created to support a range of development objectives, mainly the conservation of natural (biodiversity) resources. Other objectives for development of protected areas are; economic development and community livelihoods, social development (recreation and education), and protection of historical/cultural resources and traditions. These multiple objectives for development of protected areas are achievable because protected areas conserve critical ecosystems that provide a wide range of goods and services.

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Country Profiles

Reviews of country management systems

The Country Profile is a summary of protected areas programming that provides information on the national management framework, programmes and projects, relationship with economic sectors, and the linkages and responses to international environmental agreements. They also show how the benefits produced by a well-managed system of protected areas extend into communities and the national economy.

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Publications

reports on a range of protected areas topics

Parks Caribbean makes available reports on a range of protected areas topics, and may be focused on a particular site, a country, or may cover regional issues. This wealth of materials on protected areas policy and practice is used by policy makers, protected areas practitioners, students, and the general public.

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Protected Area News

Updates from the protected areas network
Parks Caribbean provides the most current information on protected areas programming in the Caribbean. Also included is global news of relevance to the Caribbean, and thought-provoking briefs and analyses prepared by our network of Members. Persons who wish to have protected areas news sent directly to their email addresses can subscribe to the Parks Caribbean news list.

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Parks and People

Contribution to sustainable development
This section of the website promotes protected areas that demonstrate the triple bottom line of sustainable development; that is, sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development, and environmental protection. Submission of site profiles must follow the Guidelines provided by Parks Caribbean.

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