Analysis of protected area management effectiveness evaluation data and its application for increasing understanding of management

Josephine Kelman (2010). Analysis of protected area management effectiveness evaluation data and its application for increasing understanding of management PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, The University of Queensland.

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Author Josephine Kelman
Thesis Title Analysis of protected area management effectiveness evaluation data and its application for increasing understanding of management
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-09
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Ass. Prof. Marc Hockings
Dr Chris Jacobson
Dr Robert William Carter
Total pages 253
Total colour pages 17
Total black and white pages 236
Subjects 05 Environmental Sciences
Abstract/Summary The number of protected area management effectiveness evaluations has been growing in response to calls for increased accountability and transparency in management. Thousands of site assessments have been conducted globally to build understanding of the protected area estate. It is imperative for biological conservation to have an understanding of the relative success of protected areas given that they are recognised as the cornerstone of conservation efforts globally. This dissertation uses the New South Wales, Australia, State of the Parks, which is one of the most comprehensive network-wide assessments ever conducted. The State of the Parks management effectiveness evaluation collected data on a full suite of park attributes, resource inputs and management practices, with the aim of better understanding management across the park network. This evaluation was also stimulated by the need to be accountable to stakeholders and by a desire for continuous improvement in management. The dataset that resulted from the State of the Parks management effectiveness evaluation was large. It collected information on 774 parks in the reserve network. The main objectives of this research were to develop a suitable method of analysis that provided an appropriate means of analysing and presenting the State of the Parks data to explain and interpret the factors most strongly influencing (driving) management effectiveness in the NSW protected area network. A review of existing management effectiveness evaluations revealed that little documented information on analysis methods was available. Broader review of the literature found that this was also a common problem in program evaluation. In protected area evaluation where information was available, the most common forms of analyses were summative statistics used to describe the data, and bivariate correlations used to understand the relationships between variables of interest. In-depth multivariate analysis of relationships between multiple variables was lacking. This also translated to a lack of understanding of the factors that most strongly influence management effectiveness. To fulfill the objective of understanding the driving influences of management effectiveness a series of analyses were conducted. The initial analysis was exploratory and had the benefit of using the majority of the State of the Parks data which could potentially have remained underutilized. A base analysis using the techniques applied in previous management effectiveness evaluations was also conducted to describe the data and to explain whether NSW PWS was achieving its management mandate and which management actions were important in achieving outcomes. A problem arose after the base and exploratory analysis in presentation of the data. The complexity and sheer extent of the data meant that some type of simplification was required so that it could be sufficiently understood by a range of audiences. A mathematical metric was used to simplify the data combining the results of the key management areas (i.e. General Administration, Natural Heritage, Cultural Heritage and Visitor Management) into single scores, which provided a relative measure of performance. These data were also presented spatially to enhance communication potential. It was found that NSW PWS was meeting its management mandate for the majority of protected areas. The main factors influencing management effectiveness were the landscape context of parks and the relative planning and staff time allocations. The NSW PWS resource allocations were found to correlate to high levels of contextual pressures, namely high visitation, high numbers of neighboring properties, the size and age of the park. This demonstrates, with the use of park typologies, that it is possible to define characteristics of parks and the associated expectations of performance using a set of key criteria. In current conservation and natural resource management the focus has shifted to a landscape scale. The finding of this thesis that landscape context is a driving influence on the ability to manage protected areas effectively in New South Wales adds weight to the argument for conservation that stretches beyond the boundaries of protected areas. Perhaps more importantly, it demonstrates that with management input and actions that directly address landscape pressures conservation can be successful in less than optimal situations.
Keyword Management effectiveness evaluation
protected areas
data analysis
landscape context
program evaluation
Additional Notes Colour: 15, 22-23,34,57,72,76,100,103,134,151-152,155,161-163,170 Landscape: 30,84,149,165,194-196,219,242-253

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Created: Thu, 19 May 2011, 15:54:56 EST by Miss Josephine Kelman on behalf of Library - Information Access Service