European Wilderness Society

Consulting in Wilderness and Protected Areas

Charles Besancon is a Specialist in Strategic Conservation Planning and Assessment and gives trainings on developing management plans for protected areas around the world. He was and is working around the globe and will work in Eastern Europe in the near future, where we hope to combine our knowledge for some projects.

Insights to International Conservation Networks

About 15 years ago Charles Besancon developed the Wilderness platform Today this website is one of the most comprehensive and leading platforms to get information on Wilderness research, legal frameworks and training. While being part of the steering committee of the WCPA (World Commission on Protected Areas), one of the 6 Commissions of the IUCN, Charles Besancon worked on the Protected Area Category Management Guidelines. After that he was engaged with the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) in Montreal where he managed the LifeWeb Initiative. Today he is part of UNESCO world heritage site designation missions and trains protected area managers on how to develop management plans, together with Steve McCool.  The workshops  focus on how to build a proper management plan based on the respective IUCN protected area category criteria. Topics range from zoning, the embedding in national and international legal frameworks to tourism management. However, the specific focus will change in every area.

Charles’ comprehensive knowledge about international protection networks offered me a good insight to the underlying criteria and frameworks of these networks.  This opened up a discussion about the adaptation of the IUCN protected area category system, in particular in Europe. We further talked about the different perceptions of the Wilderness concept in the U.S. and in Europe, as well as the implementation of these concepts. Charles will meet with Vlado Vancura, our Deputy Chairman, later this spring to further talk about possible co-operations.

Charles Besancon and Verena Gruber at Brennan’s wave at the Clark Fork River in Missoula

What’s up next week?

I will travel to Nevada and California to visit the Lake Mead and Death Valley Wilderness areas and to enjoy some snowboarding in Mammoth Lake before I fly back to Austria in the beginning of April.

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