"Comprehensive Protected Areas System Composition and Monitoring" has been prepared as a contribution to the Vth World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, September 8-17, 2003. Most countries of the world have at least a collection of protected areas, and have signed the Convention on Biological Diversity, while considerable international funding has been established to help developing countries finance their conservation commitment. Yet only few countries have systematically selected biodiversity to their protected areas.


A task force was composed in a collaborate effort of the IUCN, the UNESCO Man and Biosphere and World Heritage Site programmes, the Amsterdam University, WICE, Wageningen University, the World Bank and Wetlands International. The task force consisted of:

  • Daan Vreugdenhil

  • John Terborgh

  • Antoine M. Cleef

  • Maxim Sinitsyn

  • Gerard C. Boere

  • Victor L. Archaga

  • Herbert H.T. Prins


The methods and tools recommended by the task force are based on solid scientific principles as well field experiences of more than a decade of experimenting in a variety of countries. Important conservation issues include: ? identification of ecosystems and species assemblages through surrogate methods ? the minimum sizes of protected areas for ecologically durable conservation? costs of selected protected area systems? affordable monitoring practices with a stand-alone monitoring database.


The efficient composition of protected areas systems based on solid biological criteria has become one of the most urgent issues in biodiversity conservation, as,

  1. the last remaining wild areas with still unprotected species are likely to disappear over the next decade or two,

  2. climate change will wipe out countless species, even in protected areas and

  3. the required funding to set up and maintain the world's protected areas is structurally inadequate. A diversity of scientific backgrounds and management skills and different regions of operation of the members of the ecological task force facilitated the development of methods and tools for world-wide applicability. Their joint experience unites tropical, boreal, polar, terrestrial, aquatic, zoological botanical, technical and financial management expertise.


Dr. Ir. Daan Vreugdenhil, director of the World Institute of Conservation & Environment, has worked for 30 years in planning and management of natural resources of temperate and tropical terrestrial and aquatic environments. His career took him across 5 continents, while dealing with dry and humid tropical as well as temperate ecosystems. His background includes vegetation and animal ecology as well as natural resources and national parks management.


Prof. Dr. John Terborgh is Professor of Environmental Science and Botany and co-director of the Center for Tropical Conservation at Duke University, in Durban, North Carolina. He is one of the driving forces behind the Wildlands Project, a far-reaching effort by scientists and activists to develop better ways of protecting nature, wilderness and biodiversity. He has carried out research in both tropical and temperate climate conditions in the Americas.


Prof. Dr. A.M. Cleef, teaches Actuo-ecologie at Amsterdam University and Tropical Vegetation Ecology and mapping at Wageningen University. For almost four decades, he has conducted vegetation -ecological research in the Andes and the mountain ranges of Central America.


Dr. Maxim Sinitsyn , Managing Director of the International Forest Institute in Moscow, is ad Zoo-geographer/ecologist with vast research and conservation management experience in the boreal and tropical regions of Russia. Dr. Gerard C. Boere is a zoo-geographer/ornithologist with a worldwide reputation in international conservation. His professional realm spans the pathways and wetlands of migratory birds from the high Siberian arctic to Southern Africa.


Ingeniero Victor Leonel Archaga has a degree in tropical forestry and has served twice as director of the Protected Areas department of the Honduran Forest Service during which periods he was intensively involved in the conceptualisation and execution of protected areas system analysis and monitoring programme.


Prof. Dr. Herbert H.T. Prins is a retired professor in Tropical Nature Conservation and Vertebrate Ecology at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, since 1991. His domain of research includes mega fauna in Africa and Asia. He is member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, Netherlands Committee IUCN, Member IUCN Committee on Ecosystem Management, etc.