An Occasional Newsletter of the Specialist Group on Privately Protected Areas
and Nature Stewardship • September 2016
Hawai'i hosted the IUCN World Conservation Congress 1-10 September 2016. This issue of The Stivardr reports on WCC events related to private conservation.
World Conservation Congress
The largest conservation event on the planet exceeded all expectations during the meeting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Honolulu, Hawai’i, USA. The number of participants also exceeded earlier Congresses, held every four years: over 10,225 people from 193 countries.
As host country the United States set a high bar with the best-run event in this writer’s experience over 25 years. Read all the news, commitments and decisions on worldconservationcongress.org.
Ancient Hawaiian society developed many ritual protocols, partly as a defense mechanism. Visitors must be “chanted in” before entering a new place. This provides both welcome and an opportunity to observe whether outsiders are armed or aggressive. Welcoming rituals were staged in grand style in the opening ceremony of the Congress.
Hula performers came from all of the hālau (hula “schools”) in the Islands, performing dances and chants written specifically for the event. They told stories of people and nature, such as Laka, the essence that sustains the forest, and they built a kuahu, or hula altar, onstage. (photo: Ulalia Woodside, State Director of The Nature Conservancy and a hula master, explains the many meanings behind the spectacle.)
The Congress included many sessions about or related to privately protected areas, including workshops and a "knowledge café" organized by the specialist group. Find a full list on our website.
IUCN Resolution on PPAs
Last week the members of IUCN approved a resolution initiated by the specialist group on privately protected areas and nature stewardship. It codifies the definition of PPAs as developed in the Futures of Privately Protected Areas report.
The members call on the Director General and commissions to develop guidance on PPAs, a task the specialist group will take up over the next year. The resolution also calls for further study of the extent, configuration and contribution of voluntary conservation of private lands, especially all subgroups of PPA (individual, NGO, corporate, and religious and educational entities). The resolution implicitly encourages the use of the term privately protected area when describing private conservation at global scale. Read the full text of the resolution.
IUCN works through members, a permanent staff, and thousands of volunteers organized in six commissions.
Though we collaborate with all commissions our specialist group is formally assigned to the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). At the Congress Dr. Kathy MacKinnon was elected Chair of the WCPA. Privately protected areas are specified in several places in the new workplan of the Global Protected Areas Programme, headed by Trevor Sandwith.
Privately protected areas do not exist or operate in isolation. As we further study how they can maximally contribute to conservation on their own, we also must look at a larger landscape scale and understand how all types of protected areas function together, despite different ownership/governance structures, management objectives, and institutional mandates and cultures.
We organized a well-attended session on networked governance at the Protected Planet Pavilion. Many examples described how the strongest networks are organic and built on common cause. A consensus emerged that this is a topic that IUCN and WCPA should study more—not because global institutions should drive such progress but rather to ensure that multi-lateral institutions do not act in ways counter to emerging networks. (Photo: Dr. Terence Hay-Edie, UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme)
Focus on PPAs in Kaua'i, Hawai'i
Privately protected areas seem to appear wherever we look. A visit to the island of Kaua'i revealed many examples. We find familiar land trusts such as The Nature Conservancy and the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, but other private and community conserved areas abound.
Despite its name and a Congressional charter, the National Tropical Botanical Garden is a private non-profit organization, managing perhaps the most important lands for plant diversity in the State of Hawaii. They manage three properties across Kaua’i, harboring more federally endangered species than any other place in the United States.
The living laboratory of the gardens includes a herbarium and horticulture center. Its research library is the first LEED certified building on Kaua’i.
The concept of private property was unknown to pre-colonial Hawai’i. Today the largest landholder in Hawai’i is Kamehameha Schools. Its ~150,000 hectares were granted by the former nobility to support education and native culture through Ali’i (royal) trusts.
In the recent past the Kamehameha School trustees considered selling lands to generate program revenue. But now the lands are viewed as educational opportunities in themselves. At Waipā on the north coast of Kaua'i an entire ahupua’a—a wedge-shaped subdivision of land based on natural resources running from the mountains to the sea—is leased to a community group as an outdoor learning center.
Kaua'i is also home to the first Locally Managed Marine Area in the State. Native Hawaiians are restoring traditional management to the near shore area at Ha’ena, including a strict no-take zone at a popular snorkeling spot in Makua Lagoon (“Tunnels Beach”), all immediately adjacent to the homes of celebrities like Julia Roberts, Bette Midler and (recently deceased) Glenn Frey. Earlier this year the State devolved management authority to a community group, and dozens of similar coastal areas across Hawai’i are following the Ha’ena example.
All of these projects on Kaua’i are examples of kuleana, usually translated as “responsibility” but which seems very similar to our concept of stewardship.
Hawai'i is a place where the connection between nature and culture has not been forgotten. We are re-learning it elsewhere. US-ICOMOS and IUCN created a stream of 25 sessions all exploring and celebrating the inextricable bonds of human connections to and dependence on our natural world. Read a draft version of a statement by the group, Mālama Honua: to care for our island Earth.
Jennifer Gooden is a doctoral candidate at Oxford doing research on private land conservation, focusing on individuals and families who purchase land for conservation and stewardship. Jennifer is looking for conservation landowners who would be willing to speak with her about their conservation activities and motivations.
She is initially interested in those who have large tracts of land (~ 2000+ ha / 5000+ acres) but is happy to talk with others as well. If you have any suggestions for individuals to interview or case studies to explore, please email Jennifer. More information about her research can be found on her departmental and personal websites.
Climate Change and Protected Areas
Parks and protected areas are beginning to take a stand on climate change. Redparques, the Latin American Network for Technical Cooperation on Protected Areas, released a declaration that PAs must become part of global efforts to address climate change. This infographic summarizes the declaration.
Many thanks are due to the Hawai'i Host Committee for putting on the best World Conservation Congress ever. The Convention Center was a perfect venue, and Hawai'i provided great examples of stewardship of nature and culture. Full list of Committee members. Personal thanks to Melia Lane Kamahele of the National Park Service. (Photo: Charles R. "Chipper" Wichmann, President and CEO of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Vice-Chair of the Host Committee.)
PPA Discussion List
To encourage dialogue on issues regarding privately protected areas, the Specialist Group is launching a discussion list for news, issues, concerns, and requests for information. The email list is established as a Google Group; if you have a gmail address look for “privatepas.” If you don’t have a Google account, you don't have to create one to participate. Simply send us a request to join.
A privately protected area is a protected area, as defined by IUCN, under private governance (i.e. individuals and groups of individuals); non-governmental organizations (NGOs); corporations (both existing commercial companies and sometimes corporations set up by groups of private owners to manage groups of PPAs); for-profit owners; research entities (e.g. universities, field stations) or religious entities.
We define stewardship as efforts to create, nurture & enable responsibility in landowners and resource users to manage and protect natural and cultural resources.
Photos by Brent Mitchell or Jessica Brown; Hula photo by Kai Markell