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Journal ArticleDOI

Beyond landscape designation: innovative funding, delivery and governance and the UK protected area system.

13 Feb 2015-Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal (Emerald)-Vol. 26, Iss: 2, pp 172-194

Abstract: Purpose – In Europe, as in other developed regions of the world, formal protected areas (PA) are, almost by definition, conservation islands within a wider landscape of intensive farming, towns, industry and transport links. The recognised need for “more, bigger, better and joined” implies the need for complementary approaches. The purpose of this paper is to examine some innovative funding and delivery mechanisms in the UK and their strengths – and weaknesses – compared to the formal system of PA. Design/methodology/approach – Building on recent research undertaken for the UK Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) the HLF landscape partnership (LP) programme is described and related to other area-based approaches including the Wildlife Trust’s Living Landscapes, the Futurescapes programme of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the UK government’s Nature Improvement Areas (NIA). Findings – LPs represent an increasingly important vehicle for securing conservation of the natural and cultural heritage alo...
Topics: Protected area (56%), Cultural heritage (52%), Government (51%)

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WestminsterResearch
http://www.westminster.ac.uk/research/westminsterresearch
Beyond landscape designation: Innovative funding, delivery
and governance and the UK protected area system
Richard Clarke
Westminster Business School, University of Westminster
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(2015), pp. 172-194, is available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/MEQ-07-2014-
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Page 1 of 24
Beyond landscape designation: innovative funding,
delivery and governance and the UK protected area
system.
Richard Clarke
This is a pre-publication draft of a paper published in the journal Management of
Environmental Quality: Vol. 26 Iss 2 pp. 172 194, March 2015
Abstract
In Europe, as in other developed regions of the world, statutory protected areas are
islands of conservation endeavour within a wider landscape of intensive farming, towns,
industry and transport links. They have generally failed to halt biodiversity decline within
their boundaries, let alone in the wider landscape. Wider understanding of ecological
processes has led to an awareness that protected areas need to be ‘more, bigger, better and
joined’ and part of a wider landscape of integrated rural management. This implies the need
for innovative funding and delivery mechanisms and for new forms of rural governance
involving partnership working and community engagement.
In the UK the move to integrated landscape-scale conservation has been led by the
third sector. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds ‘Futurescapes’ and the Wildlife
Trusts ‘Living Landscapes’ are examples of a ‘reterritorialisation’ of conservation by non-
governmental voluntary organisations. Recently these approaches have been supplemented
by the government’s Nature Improvement Area programme. In parallel, the Heritage Lottery
Fund’s Landscape Partnership programme contributes significantly to landscape-scale
working across the public/private interface, linking heritage and people inside and outside
protected areas.
A strength of the Landscape Partnership approach is that it is ‘bottom up’ and in
some ways opportunistic. The key criterion for funding and success is not the ‘quality’ of
the landscape but, rather, the degree of engagement, commitment and initiative of local
residents and businesses, NGOs and statutory bodies, working in partnership to deliver
conservation of the natural and cultural heritage, emphasising public access, education,
training and community involvement.
These schemes have their contradictions not least that they fit a neo-liberal agenda
in which non-market activities (many previously seen as the responsibility of the state) are
relegated to the ‘third sector’, dependant ultimately on voluntary input. However within the
existing economic and political structures of the European Union they represent individually
imaginative and in aggregate vital adjuncts to areas protected by formal (statutory)
designation.
Keywords:
Protected areas, Landscape partnerships, NGOs, Community participation,
Governance, Neoliberalism

Page 2 of 24
1. Introduction
In Europe, as in other developed regions of the world, statutory protected areas (PA)
are, almost by definition, conservation islands within a wider landscape of intensive farming,
towns, industry and transport links. Their nature, like that of the wider environment within
which they exist is at least part artefact; part of a palimpsest of historical accretions, living as
well as built. Biological diversity in much of that wider environment is in decline (as it is
within many PAs) and semi-natural surrogates for the ‘wild’ are compressed into smaller and
smaller areas by development and agro-industrial impacts. For many city-dwellers,
enjoyment of and engagement with the outdoors are uncommon, a reflection of the alienation
of humans from nature.
At the same time climate change has challenged conventional thinking not just about
the methods of conservation but also its aims. An understanding of ecosystem processes
and metapopulation dynamics has resulted in an awareness that wildlife management needs
to take place on a landscape scale, linking PAs to a wider network of conservation sites.
And concern with the preservation of ‘native’ biotopes and populations is increasingly
embedded within a wider definition of conservation, including: reversing biodiversity declines
in our agricultural landscapes and cities; linking natural and cultural heritage protection;
facilitating physical and intellectual access, developing skills, and above all, engaging local
communities, and securing public understanding and commitment.
This paper focuses on the UK Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Landscape Partnership
(LP) programme - arguably the UK’s most innovative ‘landscape-scale’ funding initiative and
its most significant vehicle for delivering its obligations under the European Landscape
Convention (ELC) both within and beyond PAs.
The paper falls into four sections. The next section sketches the current European
context for landscape-scale approaches to conservation, including debates around the ‘IUCN
Categories’, the growing importance of protected landscapes (PL) and of landscape-scale
approaches to conservation and the implications of ELC.
This is followed by a summary review of some major non-governmental landscape-
scale initiatives within the UK, which exist alongside the statutory designations of the UK PA
system. All these initiatives have been led by ‘third sector’ organisations and all attempt to
combine a landscape-scale approach to ecological management with partnership working
and public participation.
The paper then describes the development, principal features and achievements of
the national HLF LP programme. The key criterion for funding and success is not the
‘quality’ of the landscape but, rather, the degree of engagement, commitment and initiative of
local communities in partnership with local NGOs and public bodies, to deliver conservation
of the natural and cultural heritage, emphasising access, education and training and
community engagement.
A final section discusses some issues relating to the ‘reterritorialisation’ of
conservation in the context of neoliberal ‘institutional blending’. The paper concludes that
within the present economic and political structures of the European Union these new

Page 3 of 24
landscape initiatives represent individually imaginative and in aggregate vital adjuncts to
areas protected by formal (statutory) designation.
2. The policy context
A number of recent changes in approaches to PAs (see e.g. Phillips 2003) form the
background to this paper. The first is the ‘coming of age’ of landscape a term conceived
differently by different people but today generally understood as much more than mere
scenery. Ecologists have developed the concept as an indicator of scale of analysis and
action, including habitat connectivity and ecosystem dynamics (Wiens et al. 2007). In
archaeology, landscape has provided a framework for understanding and managing
assemblages of monuments in space and time (Aston 1997). In the context of the initiatives
described in this paper, ‘landscape’ is the totality of an area – its landform and topography,
its habitats and biota, its past and present land use, the ‘built’ and archaeological remains
and, most importantly, its people - those who live and work in the area and those who visit it,
to all of whom landscape provides vital benefits such as food, water, an economic livelihood,
a living and recreational space and other ‘cultural ‘services’, tangible and intangible.
The new, multidisciplinary, multifunctional concept of landscape is encapsulated in
the European Landscape Convention (ELC), adopted by the Council of Europe in 2000 and
applicable to the UK since March 2007. It promotes a definition of landscape which usefully
underpins the landscape partnership philosophy: ‘An area, as perceived by people, whose
character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors(CoE
2000),
a rich concept that encompasses but goes beyond sectoral (geomorphological,
ecological, archaeological, historical or aesthetic) approaches. ELC makes it clear that
people are at the heart of all landscapes (the commonplace and ‘degraded’ as well as the
eminent) each of which has its own distinctive character and meaning to those who inhabit or
visit it.
The ELC places obligations on signatory states to recognise landscape ‘as an
essential component of people’s surroundings, an expression of the diversity of their shared
cultural and natural heritage, and a foundation of their identity’ (CoE/ LCN 2008). Obligations
include a requirement to identify the diversity and range of landscapes, the important
features of each, and to engage with local communities, private bodies and public authorities
in their planning and management. This includes raising awareness and understanding of
the character, value and functions of landscape and the way these are changing. There is
also a requirement to provide training in landscape-related skills. Partly as a result of the
ELC landscape has become a principal (though variable) focus of public policy throughout
Europe (Roberts et al. 2007). The Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the UK
lead body for ELC implementation. Several country agencies, for example Natural England
(2008) and English Heritage (2009) as well as other bodies such as the National Forest
Company (2009) have produced ELC action plans.
Together with the ‘rise of landscape’ has come a growing awareness of the
problematic history of PAs (Brockington et al. 2008). ‘Western’ conservation practice has
been located variously in the establishment of game reserves and in colonial estate
management including soil conservation and watershed management (Grove 1995,
MacKenzie 1990). The creation of Yellowstone National Park (1872, widely held to be the
forerunner of modern PAs) involved the subjugation and expulsion of its ‘native’ inhabitants.
So too has that of many more recent PAs, not least the continuing exclusion of the native

Page 4 of 24
inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago (evicted by the UK in 1971 to make way for a US
military base in Diego Garcia) from their islands which in 2010 the UK Cabinet declared a
marine reserve, the world’s largest. Many European PAs have been established on
depopulated areas, often on border zones, for example along the ‘Green Belt’ separating
former Cold War states. In the UK the terrain for PLs was created to a large degree by
nineteenth-century enclosure or clearance; the (significantly named) 1949 National Parks
and Access to the Countryside Act (which created the legal framework for nature
conservation as well as PLs) represented a partial reclamation of countryside as a public
good.
Issues such as the above have contributed to a debate around the significance and
nature of PAs themselves. The principal PA categories recognised by the International
Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) are shown in fig i. (left
hand column). Whereas Category I and II protected areas restrict human activity and
influence, Category V PLs 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’ (Dudley 2008: 20); they are inhabited, their resources
are exploited and much of their land is privately owned and farmed. They are particularly
characteristic of Europe although they constitute a minority of designated areas worldwide
(Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2013).
Six management categories
Four governance categories
Ia Strict nature reserve: Strictly protected for natural features;
restricted human visitation & use.
Ib Wilderness area: Large unmodified areas without
permanent/ significant human habitation, protected and
managed to preserve their natural condition.
II National park: Large natural or near-natural areas protecting
large-scale ecological processes with characteristic species
and ecosystems.
III Natural monument or feature: such as landform, sea
mount, cave, ancient grove or organism of major significance.
IV Habitat/species management area: To protect particular
species or habitats often requiring active management.
V Protected landscape or seascape: With distinct character
arising from the interaction of people and nature over time
safeguarded to protect its significant ecological, biological,
cultural and scenic value
VI Protected areas with sustainable use of natural
resources: where low-level non-industrial natural resource use
compatible with nature conservation is seen as one of the main
aims.
Governance by government:
Federal or national/ sub-national
ministry/agency in charge;
government-delegated management
(e.g. to NGO)
Shared governance: Collaborative
or joint management (various levels
including transboundary
management)
Private governance: By non-profit
organisations (NGOs, universities,
cooperatives), commercial
corporations or individuals.
Governance by indigenous
peoples and local communities:
Indigenous peoples’ conserved
areas and territories; community
conserved areas declared and run
by local communities.
Figure i. IUCN Protected Area management and governance categories, modified
from Borrini-Feyerabend et al. 2013, Stolton et al. 2013
The principal statutory UK PLs (IUCN Category V) are National Parks (NP) and Areas
of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Together they cover some 24% of the total land area
of the UK (fig ii.a).
1
NPs cover just over 9% of England, nearly 20% of Wales and just over
1
(English and Welsh) Heritage Coasts are not considered here although many Heritage Coasts are managed
under plans prepared for their contiguous AONBs. UK conservation sites are presently recorded on the UNEP

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  • ...research identifies innovative approaches to LSC and its governance, which deserves study (Hodge and Adams, 2012b; Cook and Inman, 2012; Hodge and Adams, 2013; Adams et al., 2014; Clarke, 2015; Eigenbrod et al., 2016)....

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Abstract: IUCN’s Protected Areas Management Categories, which classify protected areas according to their management objectives, are today accepted as the benchmark for defining, recording and classifying protected areas.They are recognized by international bodies such as the United Nations as well as many national governments. As a result, they are increasingly being incorporated into government legislation. These guidelines provide as much clarity as possible regarding the meaning and application of the Categories. They describe the definition of the Categories and discuss application in particular biomes and management approaches.

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  • ...The areas covered by these initiatives could not in themselves qualify for inclusion as PLs because they lack essential characteristics of the IUCN system (Crofts and Phillips 2013, Dudley 2008)....

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