Active & no active management are two reciprocal and combining management approached to protect biodiversity .

It is already clear for many managers that wilderness (IUCN category I) is wilderness because there is no active management. That makes this category of protected areas so unique!

Other category of protected areas – Nature Park (IUCN category V) use active management as a tool to maintain current biodiversity and actually try to stop a time.

Active management is usually implemented in areas where traditional use has been recently dramatically reduced or stopped and areas become subject of natural dynamic – succession.

...some areas need active management, e.g. to maintain existence of rare species

…some areas need active management, e.g. to maintain existence of rare species

Simply, some areas need active management, to maintain existence of rare species but some areas does need that kind of management at all! In Carpathian active management is happening not only on abandoned so called orchids meadows but more and more in forest ecosystems as well. Excuses to bring chain saw to forest in protected areas vary from area to area, from country to country. The arguments are as follows: forest is too old and managers help is needed to support of re-juvenilitisation, forest is impacted by windfall or snowstorm and managers feel that they have to help e.g. to plant a better, more resistant trees and keep pets under the control to protect forest around protected areas. The question stays: how much do we really need an active management of forest in protected areas?

The simple answer would be that at least in some protected areas (IUCN Category I) none because they are protected (or using different terminology there is a passive management). The areas requested regular management should be included to the club of actively managed areas (e.g. IUCN Category V) and maybe in this case there should not be used the word ”protected”. Just to minimize confusion.

In the last 20 years handful of open mind conservationist and ecologists reestablished largely forgotten non-intervention principle of protected areas management.

In the last 20 years handful of open mind conservationist and ecologists reestablished largely forgotten non-intervention principle of protected areas management.

The European model of biodiversity conservation very much focused in the past on active management technics. Nevertheless, in the last 18-20 years handful of open mind conservationist and ecologists reestablished largely forgotten non-intervention principle of protected areas management. That was revived something what was the main idea at the beginning of protected areas history

Let´s repeat that according wikipedia the protected areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognized natural, ecological and/or cultural values. We should remind ourselves that part of these values, particularly natural and ecological and especially in Europe, were created through the centuries of man-made activities. The outcome of these activities is dominance of man-made landscape and that that activities had dramatically changed original natural conditions.

The consequence is that the active management is still considering by some part of population as a fundamental management approach. Somehow, likely because of nostalgia, many managers tend to still believe that European nature needs our help and so active management has to stay a common management approach in all spectrum of IUCN categories of protected areas. We somehow forgot their original aim, why concept of protected areas was created and that this original concept (to protect and no actively manage nature) is implemented in majority of protected areas  outside of Europe and around the globe.

Białowieża Forest

Many managers tend to still believe that European nature needs our help and so active management has to stay a common management approach in all spectrum of IUCN categories of protected areas.

Managers, researchers students and academics developed through the years various concepts and methods of active management, tools how to manage – help mother nature – to create something what managers believe is important for them, society, biodiversity..

With this objective they still organize number of events where they share their thoughts and experience. One of such event workshop will be held in Mikulov from 1st till 5th August 2016. If this is subject of your interest attend but please keep in mind that your knowledge, skills and capacity to protect biodiversity is much more needed to build up the second non-intervention management pillar of biodiversity conservation in Europe. Remember that it is a missing element protection of European biodiversity and the core value of protected areas

That means also to protect our natural wilderness heritage and that to mimic traditional management technics should be task to somebody else…

If you want to learn about European wilderness and make a new friends attend Wilderness Academy Days, in Uzhorod, Ukraine

If you want to learn about European wilderness and make a new friends attend Wilderness Academy Days (5-7 Oct 2016), in Uzhorod, Ukraine

If you want to learn about this second pillar and support no intervention management, contact us and/or come and join 3-4 day hiking trip to Europe’s last and largest beech forest wilderness in the Ukraine 4 -8- October 2016, make new friends and get involved to this exiting process. What could more exciting than protect our European wilderness!!!

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About Author

Vlado Vancura is the Deputy Chairman and Director of wilderness of the European Wilderness Society and is based in Liptovsky Hradok, Slovakia.

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