As thousands of delegates gather in Sydney for the once-per-decade IUCN World Parks Congress, Griffith University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have released what is believed to be the world’s largest study of environmental and visitor management in any country’s parks system.
Conducted by the CAS’s Professor Zhong Linsheng and Professor Ralf Buckley and PhD researcher Ms Cassie Wardle from Griffith’s School of Environment, the study presents 600 statistical analyses of 166 parameters for 1110 protected areas across all of China’s ecosystems and management agencies.
The multi-year study was funded by China’s parks and forests agencies, the Australia China Council and the CAS, including a Visiting Chair for Professor Buckley under the CAS Senior International Scientist Program. It has been published in the journal Biological Conservation.
“China has high biological diversity threatened by a rapidly expanding economy,” says Professor Buckley, “so management of its protected areas is globally significant.”
Results from the study are also incorporated into the 3rd edition of the 282-page, 59-author IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) guidelines to best practice for Tourism and Visitor Management in Protected Areas. It has been edited by a cross-continental team including Professor Buckley and will be launched at the World Parks Congress running in Sydney from November 12-19.
These guidelines also include Griffith University research carried out jointly with African conservation tourism operators Wilderness Safaris, &Beyond, Great Plains Conservation and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and South American operator Explora. Many of these projects are being presented individually at the Congress.
Griffith is also the principal university featured in the newly released UN World Tourism Organisation Global Report on Adventure Tourism, which quotes two of Professor Buckley’s books and adopts the definition of Conservation Tourism from his 2010 book of that title.
Griffith is well represented at the World Parks Congress and in IUCN. Professor Brendan Mackey, Director of Griffith’s Climate Change Response Program, is a longstanding Councillor of IUCN, and Adjunct Professor Aila Keto, Director of the Rainforest Conservation Society, has been awarded IUCN lifetime membership.