IUCN Category V - Protected Landscape / Seascape
Areas where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural and scenic value and where safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is vital to protecting and sustaining the area and its associated nature conservation and other values.
IUCN Management Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape) are defined by IUCN as “areas where the interaction of people and nature over time has produced an area of distinct character with significant ecological, biological, cultural and scenic value and where safeguarding the integrity of this interaction is vital to protecting and sustaining the area and its associated nature conservation and other values”. 1 The primary objective of protected areas in this category is to protect and sustain important landscapes/seascapes and the associated nature conservation and other values created by interactions with humans through traditional management practices. Other objectives include to provide natural products and environmental services, to contribute to broad-scale conservation and to act as models of sustainability.
Developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with support of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and other international institutions such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and assigned by national governments.
Year of creation
The current IUCN Categories were approved in 1994, and revised guidelines were published in 2008. 1
These should have the following essential characteristics: 1
- Landscape and/or coastal and island seascape of high and/or distinct scenic quality and with significant associated habitats, flora and fauna and associated cultural features;
- A balanced interaction between people and nature that has endured over time and still has integrity, or where there is reasonable hope of restoring that integrity;
- Unique or traditional land-use patterns, e.g., as evidenced in sustainable agricultural and forestry systems and human settlements that have evolved in balance with their landscape.
- Opportunities for recreation and tourism consistent with life style and economic activities;
- Unique or traditional social organizations, as evidenced in local customs, livelihoods and beliefs;
- Recognition by artists of all kinds and in cultural traditions (now and in the past);
- Potential for ecological and/or landscape restoration.
Some category V protected areas act as a buffer around a core of one or more strictly protected areas, and some act as linking habitats between several other protected areas.
Management of these areas can be carried out by a range of actors depending on the governance type of the area (see Protected Areas for information on governance types). A high degree of human intervention is to be expected within these areas, including agriculture and forestry, although these practices should be traditional and sustainable systems of land-use. The people that live there and manage the land are therefore the stewards of these protected areas. Unlike category VI, the emphasis in these areas is on maintaining or restoring traditional management practices along with the natural systems with which they co-exist.
Legal and compliance – The classification of a category V protected area requires that such areas are managed for conservation by legal or other effective means, and therefore legal recognition and protection at the national or sub-national level is likely to be present in these sites. The level of legal protection will however vary between countries, and will depend on the governance type of the area, as they receive differing levels of recognition by government in different countries. Nonetheless a number of national laws are likely to apply to these sites that deter large-scale economic activities in order to maintain the conservation values of these areas.
As designated protected areas, these sites receive international attention and have been incorporated into a number of environmental safeguard standards. These include those of multilateral financial institutions, such as but not limited to the World Bank 2 and the International Finance Corporation 3. For details on environmental safeguard standards which are applicable to all protected areas, please see the Protected Areas page.
In addition, a number of sector specific safeguard standards refer to protected areas, many of which are related to certification programs. For details on certification programmes which are applicable to all protected areas, please see the Protected Areas page.
Biodiversity importance – The biodiversity importance of category V areas is due to the important role they play in conservation at the landscape/seascape scale, particularly as part of a mosaic of management patterns, protected area designations and other conservation mechanisms. Category V areas are important for conservation of species or habitats that have evolved with interactions with people and can only survive if those are maintained.
Socio-cultural values – Evidence of traditional land use patterns is a key criterion for category V areas, and therefore these areas will hold certain socio-cultural values, largely that of resource use by local people such as sustainable forestry and agriculture. Human settlements are very likely to be present as a key characteristic of these areas is a long-history of interaction between people and their environment.
References & Websites
- Dudley, N. (Ed) Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories (2008).
- The World Bank. World Bank Operational Manual. Revised version 2013. OP 4.04 Natural habitats (2013).
- International Finance Corporation (IFC). Performance Standard 6: Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Living Natural Resources (2012).
- Alliance for Responsible Mining. Fairmined Standard for Gold from Artisanal and Small-scale Mining, including associated precious metals (2014).
- Responsible Jewellery Council. Standards Guidance (2013).
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