Thursday, March 19, 2015

Phases of Protected Area Management Planning

by Antonio C. Antonio
March 8, 2015

There are several phases in protected area management planning.  The principles of management as we have learned in Management 101 are very much applicable in protected area management.  “The four basic and fundamental principles of management --- therefore, (1) planning, (2) organizing, (3) directing and (4) controlling --- apply in most organized (or even individual) endeavours (Antonio, 2014).”  The specific methodology used in protected area management, upland ecosystem management and other upland management activities may vary but the will always be guided by the by same management principles.

In environment and natural resources management, the same principles of management also apply.  “Sustainable environmental management, in direct relationship with the functions of management, can be presented in a circle of activities as follows: (1) An environmental VISION; (2) An environmental STRATEGY; (3) Detailed PLANNING; (4) A structured Environmental COMMUNICATION system; (5) A workable IMPLIMENTATION plan; (6) A comprehensive REPORTING system; and, (7) An oversight-focused evaluation of RESULTS.  More often, re-cycling of activities becomes necessary to address failures in the plans and programs (Antonio, 2014).”  

The major phases of protected area management planning are as follows:
  1. PRELIMINARY PLANNING:  This is a necessary exercise prior to the actual planning is done.  The pre-planning activities are aimed at determining the effectiveness and efficiency of the planning exercise: (a) determine the preliminary objectives; (b) defining the location and extent of the area to be planned; (c) identifying the institution/s that will undertake or collaborate in the planning activities; (d) selecting the individuals and (SME) subject matter experts to be included in the planning team; (e) preparing the program of work; (f) identifying the logistical requirement; and, (g) enlisting the cooperation of local government officials and community leaders for the planning activities.
  2. SITE CHARACTERIZATION:  Also called situational analysis, site characterization is the process of describing the planning area quantitatively and qualitatively.  This activity aims to build up research and technical information in a database necessary to achieve an ideal level of understanding of the area.  The database will be critical in the crafting of planning and implementation strategies later.  Site characterization activities are as follows: (a) delineation of boundaries; (b) identification and analysis of key stakeholders; (c) inventory of the resources in the area; (d) technical information such as climate, hydrology, geomorphy, socio-economic, etc.; and, (e) land capacity evaluation and classification.
  3. S.W.O.T. ANALYSIS:  The database generated should be subjected to a SWOT analysis to familiarize the members of the planning team on the internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) environments of the project.  The SWOT analysis is critical in anticipating potential problems in the actual planning and implementation stages.
  4.  FORMULATION OF OBJECTIVES:  An acceptable level of quantitative and qualitative information will aid in the formulation of objectives.  Under normal circumstances, the objectives are along these familiar lines: (a) rehabilitation of degraded areas; (b) soil and water conservation; (c) biodiversity conservation; (d) carbon sequestration; (e) eradication of poverty among the communities within the area; (f) production and sustainable utilization of natural resources; and, (g) improvement of water supply.
  5. SETTING OF PHYSICAL TARGETS:  Target-setting is important in determining the area where interventions will be made.  But such interventions should be guided by the concept of sustainable development that must answer the following questions: (1) What biodiversity to conserve?; (2) How much water to produce?; (3) What is the acceptable maximum soil erosion rate?; (4) How much and what livelihood opportunities to generate?; and, (5) How much resources to be utilized without sacrificing the needs of the future generations?

We could never go wrong if we followed these phases of protected area management planning.

Just my little thoughts…


Antonio, A. C., (2014). Upland Ecosystem Management.  Retrieved on the 8th of March 2015 from

Antonio, A. C., (2014). Sustainable Environmental Management.  Retrieved on the 8th of March 2015 from

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