Good governance for terrestrial protected areas: A framework, principles and performance outcomes

J Environ Manage. Jan-Feb 2010;91(3):754-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2009.10.005. Epub 2009 Nov 5.


Governing norms by which to steer traditional government functions are well established and understood; however, this is not the case for the new multi-level and collaborative approaches that characterize protected area governance. This is largely new territory that makes novel demands on governance institutions and policy. In this context, establishing and maintaining good governance across the diversity of ownership and responsibility arrangements is critical for the future effectiveness and acceptability of protected areas. Fulfilling the promise and avoiding the pitfalls inherent in contemporary protected area governance will require an understanding of what is meant by 'good governance' and development of associated mechanisms to assess performance and provide a basis for improvement. This paper's contribution lies in the guidance it provides for the hitherto under-developed area of governance quality assessment. I first present a framework that positions governance quality in relation to governance and management effectiveness. I then characterize good protected area governance according to a set of seven principles - legitimacy, transparency, accountability, inclusiveness, fairness, connectivity and resilience. Together, the framework, governance principles and related performance outcomes provide a platform for assessment of governance quality for an individual terrestrial protected area, a network of several protected areas, or a national protected area system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation*
  • Conservation of Natural Resources / methods*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Ecosystem*
  • Government*
  • Ownership
  • Public-Private Sector Partnerships*