Within five years of its launch, the English version of IUCN’s Protected Area Governance and Management compendium textbook has reached the remarkable statistic of 100,000 downloads across 87 countries. This milestone has been made possible through IUCN professionals and tertiary education providers, combined with a strong word of mouth promotion, all of which have helped spread knowledge about this free book.
Launched at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 in Sydney, Australia, Protected Area Governance and Management represents a tool for protected area practitioners, policy makers, students, and interested readers, covering all levels of parks management expertise. The equivalent of an estimated US$ 2.9 million of volunteer time was contributed to the development of the book by 164 authors, 27 reviewers, and 5 editors for the English version alone.
Richly illustrated and written in an easy-to-read style, this book offers a comprehensive toolkit covering everything that anyone ever wanted to know about protected areas management and governance. Having struck a chord with a range of conservation practitioners, it has been described as “the bible of protected area management”.
This success did not happen by chance, but through the utility of the book as an essential resource for protected area management. Prior to writing, the content for the book was carefully researched and debated upon by experts from the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), who based it on identified competency needs for protected area professionals. The aim of the book was to provide essential park management information for the world’s protected area managers in a single compendium text. Through this consultative process, the book was structured into 28 chapters spanning over 1000 pages, and three professional levels of resources were compiled: introductory text, advanced manager-level, and senior executive level. These chapters were developed to be both stand-alone texts as well as being cross-referenced within the book. This allowed for a versatile publication which accounts for differences in the professional level of tools and knowledge made available, as well as providing instructors at universities or training institutions the opportunity to select individual chapters as educational resources.
Editor and project manager for the book, Graeme Worboys reflected, “The development of this peer-reviewed book reflected the WCPA at its very best. It was a volunteer project with 164 authors and five full time editors contributing, and represents the world’s leading protected area practitioners passing on their lifetime of experience and knowledge to the next generation! These efforts form a major investment towards a better planet”.
Senior IUCN official Pedro Rosabal described the 3 year book development project as the largest volunteer book project in the history of the WCPA. Its design, copy-editing, and production was led by Lorena Kanellopoulos of the Australian National University Press and the cost of the production was facilitated by IUCN and BIOPAMA. The United States National Park Service produced the maps as a sponsor to the project.
In 2019, translation of a Spanish version of the book was championed by Chair of WCPA Kathy MacKinnon and Deputy Chair and Director of the Colombian National Park Service, Julia Miranda Londono. The book in Spanish was launched at the third Latin American and the Caribbean Protected Area Congress (14-17 October 2019, Lima, Peru).
The complete version of the book in French will be available in the following months, with the support of IUCN PAPACO and the BIOPAMA Programme, with 10 chapters already available as of April 2020.
Dr Graeme L. Worboys AM
Protected Area Management Specialist
Honorary Associate Professor, Fenner School
Australian National University