The Global Role of National Parks For the World of Tomorrow
Given at Berkeley, California, May 23, 1974
Before commencing this lecture I would like to express my gratitude and great pleasure at having been invited to this campus which, through its scientists in so many ways, is inspiring not only to those who work in ecology and conservation but also in numerous other disciplines. On several previous occasions I have had the privilege of visiting this campus. Every time such a visit is like a tremendous injection of intellectual stimulation. Likewise, the constant flow of impressive books and papers from Berkeley, which I have had the benefit of receiving regularly in Europe and Africa for more than twenty years, also generates stimulating ideas at the receiving end. For all this I thank you.
The preservation of natural areas - habitats, biomes and ecosystems - is the best and most direct way for the conservation of biocommunities and endangered species of plants and animals. Such preservation also provides man with a key to environmental understanding, which is of fundamental importance for his own survival.
What is a "natural area"? Remaining virgin areas of the world are at the present time so few that we must enlarge the concept of natural areas to include regions in which the impact of man is minimal. The criteria for definitions of natural areas have to be ecological but flexible, due to the great variation of habitats, biomes, and ecosystems as well as their sensitivity to human disturbance and influence. Habitat selectivity of plants and animals is also very diverse, which necessitates a flexible approach in defining natural areas.
In the overcrowded world of today nature cannot any longer defend itself by remoteness or inaccessibility. Therefore the establishment of national parks and equivalent nature reserves is the only means to give maximum protection to what remains of representative natural habitats, biomes and ecosystems as well as rare and threatened species. However, this is not enough. So many significant habitats and ecosystems have disappeared or been greatly modified through human disturbance that it is necessary to undertake restoration programmes in order to regain for man's benefit what he unwisely has destroyed.
The First 100 Years
In 1972 the world celebrated the centenary of the establishment of the first national park, the Yellowstone National Park. Very appropriately this celebration took place in Yellowstone National Park, and in its next-door neighbour the Grand Teton National Park, through the generosity of the United States acting as host for the Second World Conference on National Parks. Since that remarkable day one hundred and two years ago when the United States established the world's first national park this great nation has continuously shown a global leadership in the national park movement and in conservation in general.
The pioneering U.S. spirit of 1872 is reflected by the fact that the establishment of Yellowstone National Park met basic conditions for a national park which became internationally defined and adopted 97 years later by the General Assembly of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), meeting in New Delhi in November-December, 1969.
The first 100 years of national parks history is so well documented by the numerous publications published during the centenary year 1972 and by the Second World Conference on National Parks that it does not need to be repeated or summarized for you. However, it must be said that it was in quite another world than ours that the first national park became established. The past 100 years of national park history have seen an unprecedented accelerated development due to demographic, economic and social growth. A hundred years ago, when Yellowstone National Park was created, was an idyllic time without serious pressures on most of the world's major biomes. The vision of those who were inspired by the magnificence of Yellowstone led to one of the greatest contributions to civilization, namely the concept of national parks for the benefit of mankind for all time.
What could not be foreseen at that time was the tremendous habitat deterioration which has characterized the last fifty years of human existence. But the human aspirations for which the conservation-minded people of 1872 were fighting are still basically the same. Their action was prompted by aesthetic impressions of nature's grandiosity, and by spiritual concern for contemporary and future generations of mankind which should be given opportunities to share their impressions. Today, reasons of quite another dimension must be added to why national parks must be established. As human beings we are in biological and ecological need of diverse and vast networks of national parks.
We need them for our mental and physical health and wellbeing as a counterbalance to urban life and social stress. We need them as sample areas for comparisons with regions which have been or are being modified by man. We need them as living laboratories for studies of biological productivity, evolution, population dynamics and so on. In fact, the most significant results of biological field studies have emerged from national parks or equivalent reserves or from intact biocommunities. We need them as gene banks for wild plants and animals. We need them for rehabilitation of destroyed areas. We need them for educational and historic purposes. It is indeed difficult to understand why it should be more important for humanity to preserve at immense costs dead monuments of the past than living treasures of bygone days - plants, animals and intact biocommunities. It is often claimed that historic cultural sites are more valuable to preserve than are natural regions, because the former reflect how man lived in the past. True, but living biocommunities (even if they are in perpetual evolution) in environments characterized by geological history were the homes of our ancestors for more than two million years before any buildings existed. Future generations would surely not forgive us the destruction of sites like the Grand Canyon, the Virunga National Park in Africa, the Kanha National Park in Asia, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Haleakala National Park in Hawaii, the Coto Donana National Park in Europe, or the Galapagos Islands in South America just to give some examples from each continent. In the same way, future generations will certainly strongly condemn the far-reaching destruction which, during the last decades, has occurred in existing national parks in a number of countries.
Having said that, it is understood that the first 100 years of national parks history have not been entirely rosy. It is chiefly in the last 30 years that many national parks have been violated by governmental exploitation.
Definition and Principles
At the 10th General Assembly of IUCN in New Delhi 1969 the following resolution on National Park definition was unanimously adopted:
Considering the importance given by the United Nations to the national park concept, as a sensible use of natural resources, and considering the increasing use which has been made during these last few years in some countries of the term "national park" to designate areas with increasingly different status and objectives.
The 10th General Assembly of IUCN meeting in New Delhi in November 1969 recommends that all governments agree to reserve the term "National Park" to areas answering the following characteristics and to ensure that their local authorities and private organizations wishing to set aside nature reserves do the same:
A National Park is a relatively large area (1) where one or several ecosystems are not materially altered by human exploitation and occupation, where plant and animal species, geomorphological sites and habitats are of special scientific, educative and recreative interest or which contains a natural landscape of great beauty, and (2) where the highest competent authority of the country has taken steps to prevent or to eliminate as soon as possible exploitation or occupation in the whole area and to enforce effectively the respect of ecological, geomorphological or aesthetic features which have led to its establishment, and (3) where visitors are allowed to enter, under special conditions, for inspirational, educative, cultural and recreative purposes.
Governments are accordingly requested not to designate as national
a scientific reserve which can be entered only by special permission (strict nature reserve),
a natural reserve managed by a private institution or a lower authority without some type of recognition and control by the highest competent authority of the country,
a "special reserve" as defined in the African Convention of 1968 (fauna or flora reserve, game reserve, bird sanctuary, geological or forest reserve, etc.),
an inhabited and exploited area where landscape planning and measures taken for the development of tourism have led to the setting up of "recreation areas" where industrialization and urbanization are controlled and where public outdoor recreation takes priority over the conservation of ecosystems (parc naturel régional, nature park, Naturpark, etc). Areas of this description which may have been established as "National Parks" should be redesignated in due course.
This resolution was endorsed by the Second World Confer-ence on National Parks in 1972.
Trends in National Parks
The important role of national parks and equivalent reserves in the fields of international conservation, research, education and recreation, as well as in national economy and development, is becoming increasingly recognized in many countries on all continents and also by international organizations not directly involved in conservation activities. So far, however, national parks have been primarily regarded as national assets. The traditional way of selecting areas as national parks has mainly been based on special features of a country such as spectacular landscape scenery, or rare and interesting geological sites, vegetation and/or fauna. In fact, many national parks have been chosen to preserve natural curiosities. Also, areas where historical events have taken place have in certain countries been set aside as national parks. It is not wrong to use such criteria as national values for selection of national parks, but they emphasize single features rather than the natural scene as a whole (habitats, biomes, ecosystems) and such a limited approach may in the long run be dangerous because it might lead to unexpected surprises and the disappearance of what one wanted to preserve.
The point in our days is that we cannot afford any longer to base our action in relation to nature on emotional romanticism. We have to face ecological realities and they are, due to ourselves, very serious.
One may ask whether present and future conflicts of land use due to population and economic pressures or political aspirations can be reconciled with the idea of having large areas set aside for national parks. The latter are often regarded as being unproductive. This is a wrong view. It is indeed as vital to preserve habitats and ecosystems as it is to set aside areas for other human needs. This is just the essence of ecological planning on a global scale.
Some people foresee a dim future for national parks in countries which are at present suffering from heavy overexploitation of natural resources due to ecological ignorance and overpopulation. These people do not seem to have learned from past and present mistakes. These mistakes will certainly be an important background when it comes to sound ecological planning and the formulation of long-term land use objectives.
The Threats to National Parks
National parks give protection but they also must be protected. There are few countries with national parks where the latter have not been threatened by being over-run, reduced, altered, or even destroyed by external pressures, often in the form of exploitation by governments. But there are also other dangers. Ironically, the popularity of national parks is in many areas a major menace. Over-use by visitors causes damage and serious problems to many national parks. The pristine values of an area can hardly be preserved when confronted with mass recreation of an increasing number of people. On the other hand, modern societies with increased leisure time and increased standards of living need such areas for their mental well-being.
Several national parks in the United States and South Africa have been forced to limit the number of visitors visting their areas at any one time during peak periods. Other national park systems are discussing whether they have to reduce the number of visiting tourists by charging such high prices that they can stem the flow of visitors and in this way maintain the environmental quality. A more sympathetic and perhaps also more rational method would be to increase the number of national parks so they can absorb at the same time the number of visitors wanting to go to these areas. The dispersal of tourists to many parts of a country is an advantage for the country concerned, because it spreads the benefits to local populations involved in the infrastructure of the tourist industry. This is particularly so in developing countries, for instance in East Africa where the tourist industry is based on national parks and their animals.
However, the problem is general. Whatever country or national park one is concerned with, it would certainly be a disastrous policy to accept an unlimited development in national parks and equivalent reserves in order to meet the demands of all people. The primary purpose of any national park must be to preserve and not to be developed to take care of a mass of visitors who would destroy the very values for which the national parks were created.
The proposals to keep the number of visitors within a national park to such proportions that it does not hamper its wilderness quality has been challenged by those who advocate that this approach is undemocratic and that "national parks are for people" and not just for a few who appreciate virgin or untouched nature. I believe that these "few" in reality are not so few. Perhaps they will soon become the majority. This is a sound evolution and should be encouraged. For those who want outdoor recreation without "natural quality" there are always plenty of areas where they can satisfy their needs. Moreover, just the fact that "national parks are for people" implies that they should be so for all time and not only for the present generation. If we destroy or mismanage what we have in custody today, we are irresponsible towards coming generations.
Therefore, I repeat that the number of national parks and equivalent reserves needs to be increased in relation to the public demand and their carrying capacity to receive visitors without being damaged. Obviously this kind of land use must be compatible at national level with other kinds of land use necessary for the country. This is a part of ecological planning.
Many threats to national parks stem from man-made actions outside such reserves. For example, a considerable number of the existing African national parks and equivalent reserves are subjected to increasingly heavy pressure from the surrounding human population, either through demands for land for settling, grazing rights or agriculture, and/or development schemes, which are adverse to the long-term interests and benefits represented by the conservation areas. Fires, overgrazing by livestock, poaching on an industrial scale, irrigation, drainage, air, water and soil pollution, deforestation of nearby areas which alters the water regime, and other man-made factors, cause environmental changes in many national parks even when the sources of these habitat modifications are located outside the reserves. In particular, watercourses flowing through national parks and their lakes and swamps may be polluted or silted or dried up because of human activities occurring hundreds of miles away. Irrigation schemes upstream in rivers which flow through national parks and nature reserves have upset the ecology of the protected areas, resulting in adverse chain reactions affecting the vegetation and the fauna.
National Parks as a Land Use
In no other country has it so overwhelmingly been demonstrated that national parks serve a useful function for the society at large and constitute a meaningful and constructive kind of land use as in the United States. Yet, only seven national parks in the United States are completely in public ownership. Privately owned "inholdings" exist in all other U.S. national parks and in many national monuments (Cahn, 1968). In addition, there are grazing rights for livestock in U.S. wilderness areas. These facts shock a foreign observer like myself, because I have so often in my work for national parks in various countries of the world referred to the United States as a leadership example. However, it is possible that unless the Federal Government had not accepted these private pockets in several national parks as a transitional stage until final purchase of the total area, these national parks might not have existed at all. It is obviously better to build up a preserved area piecewise by acquiring what is progressively available than to wait almost indefinitely to do so until the whole area can be purchased. In Africa and Asia, governments often object to proposals of setting aside national parks because they do not have the means to develop them in the form of housing and roads for caretaking. We need to advocate that it is better to demarcate and gazette national parks without delay even if it will take years before any infrastructure will materialize.
In a 1969 Gallup poll in the United States, three of every four people interviewed favoured setting aside more public land for conservation purposes such as national parks, wildlife refuges, bird sanctuaries, and similar nature reserves. It is understandable why this pronounced enthusiasm for more national parks exists in a country like the United States, which pioneered conservation by setting aside nature reserves and which today has an impressive network of national parks, state parks, and other reserves visited annually by millions. Canada has followed the example of its southern neighbour. Hence North America is relatively well equipped with national parks and nature reserves.
In Africa today there are more national parks and nature reserves than during the colonial time. The new African Convention for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, signed in 1968 by the African heads of state and now in force, deals specifically with national parks, nature reserves, and other conservation areas. An article of the Convention stipulates that the contracting states shall maintain and extend, where appropriate, within their territory and, where applicable, in their territorial waters, the conservation areas existing at the time of the entry into force of the present convention, and, preferably within the framework of land use planning programmes, shall assess the necessity of establishing additional conservation areas in order to:
protect those ecosystems that are most representative of, and particularly those that are in any respect peculiar to, their territories;
ensure conservation of all species and more particularly of those listed or to be listed in the Annex of this Convention. (At present more than 350 species of animals and plants are listed.)
The number of national parks in Europe, Asia, and Australia is also increasing. However, many more such reserves are needed, for many reasons. Two reasons that are particularly important, and therefore emphasized by the African Convention are: protection of representative ecosystems, and protection of endangered species of plants and animals. This holds true for the whole world and includes terrestrial as well as marine biomes.
National parks and nature reserves provide a number of advantages to human society, in addition to recreational values already discussed. Tourism is a kind of recreation, but as an international phenomenon it brings foreign money into countries. It can therefore be developed into a major source of income based on the existence of national parks. This is the case in the countries of East Africa. In Kenya, tourism is the most important source of national revenue, competing with the value of the coffee export, and ranks high in that regard in Uganda and Tanzania. The stream of tourists visiting these countries comes primarily to see the national parks and nature reserves. Primarily it is the animals and the scenic landscape features that attract visitors and have the strongest appeal for foreign tourists. Hence the recreational and economic values of national parks and their wildlife can contribute substantially to the economy of a country.
The physical and mental health of people is an important economic factor in any country, even though it cannot be expressed in figures. The recreational value of natural oases like national parks and nature reserves for maintaining the physical and mental welfare of human beings cannot be overestimated in a world of artificiality, urbanization, and mechanization.
It is obvious from the experience of the last fifteen years that national parks will play an increasingly important role in the social and economic development process of the world because of their scientific, educational and recreational functions. The practical aspects in the form of the immense importance a global network of national parks will have in providing ecological (bioeconomic) guidelines for the future use of lands and waters of the world will without doubt be increasingly realized as governments become aware of environmental reality.
Much of the economic value of national parks will be in the form of a non-consumptive use such as research, education, recreation and protection of gene pools. Surplus animals will disperse to surrounding areas, if the latter are suitable, where they can be cropped for protein and hides. Protection will be given to migratory birds along their flyways, and in due time this will also yield protein and recreational opportunities outside the preserved areas. Protection of coral reefs will indirectly favour lagoon and off-shore fishing, because the coral reef biome functions as a spawning ground, as a nursery of larvae, and as habitats for juvenile stages of numerous marine species of fish which as adults live pelagically in the open sea. These are just some examples of what national parks yield indirectly.
The hitherto unwise and acceleratingly destructive exploitation of renewable natural resources highlights the necessity of ecological land-use surveys as a basis for the long-term planning of these resources of each nation or region. In such a scheme national parks have to be considered as a form of ecologically, economically and socially sound land use. One of many useful results coming from such surveys is a firm background of ecological knowledge of the interactions between habitats and biomes inside and outside national parks. Such a knowledge will be tremendously helpful for land planners not only when delineating national park boundaries but also for land-use planning in general. Moreover, the introduction of scientifically-based conservation and management principles having an ecosystem dimension is as important within national parks as outside them.
Selection, Planning, Restoration, Management and Utilization of National Parks
Hitherto, selection of sites for national parks in various countries has been a rather disparate process. The motivations have varied greatly from country to country, but usually they have with few exceptions had one common denominator, namely that the area set aside as a national park did not constitute for the time a so-called economic sacrifice. Therefore most national parks of today are located on marginal lands or on what was considered as wastelands. Fortunately, many of these areas harhour a rich animal life and at the present time function as refuges for many endangered species.
The idea of selecting areas for a national park system, based on ecological criteria at a national level, in order to create a network of representative ecosystems, biomes and habitats has successfully been implemented by the United States and has been emphasized by the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
The obligations in the African Convention may lead to a fair representation of ecosystems in each African country and, hence, on the African continent. This is an example for other continents to follow because it is now high time that the national parks and equivalent reserves of the world should represent the different continental and oceanic ecosystems and major biomes. In their approach to national park systems and criteria for selection of areas for such reserves, the world's nations must now together go beyond national boundaries to create a representative global network of national parks which will give humanity a complete pattern of various natural ecosystems and major biomes. All these areas must be sufficiently large to be ecologically self-supporting (or at least as much as possible). Such an aim means that many ecosystems and biomes of the world have to be restored. It may be said that such an ambitious scheme is a luxury and that many countries cannot afford to participate in it. In reality, most nations cannot afford not to participate in such an effort. Far from being a luxury, the scheme will be of immense benefit to mankind, and perhaps even a matter of survival to humanity. The values of a global network of ecosystems preserved by national parks are manifold, but the most important one is that they will help man understand his environment and provide clues to ecological problems whose solutions may aid posterity instead of leading to disaster.
Perhaps the most fundamental lesson we can draw from a normally functioning ecosystem is its productivity, which is based on complex interrelations between all its components. The rate of creation, consumption, decomposition and recycling is of immense importance for humanity to understand properly. Too often we neglect to recognize the simple fact that natural communities are the most effective systems for utilizing energy and chemical materials available in the environment for continued production of living organisms. This is the result of a long evolutionary history, from which man can learn much.
All this means an increased utilization of national parks. They will no longer function only for recreational, aesthetic and ethical reasons or for preserving endangered plants and animals. They will have an even more important role, a role of paramount importance, namely to serve as ecological sample areas for our guidance in restoring, managing and utilizing properly the world's renewable natural resources.
The importance of national parks for human well-being and prosperity will in the future certainly increase to dimensions far beyond the present conventional estimate.
A new system of national parks hopefully will emerge through international arrangements and cooperation. There will probably be more "international national parks" located on both sides of the boundaries between nations.
The era of ecological illiteracy will be succeeded by ecological consciousness. People and governments will begin to understand that the depletion of natural diversity and deterioration of environmental quality are symptoms of a culture in decline. They will understand that over-exploitation of the environment generates an accelerating process of destructive forces, that collapse of ecosystems has led to fall of civilizations, and that elimination of natural areas makes the study of man's biological heritage impossible. Man's behaviour is intimately linked to his heritage. Moreover, for man's cultural and spiritual advancement diverse living landscapes are essential. If all these facts are realized by nations and people, then there will be a renaissance of natural ecosystems on this globe of ours.
The global network of ecosystems and major biomes must be based on worldwide inventories. Useful material already exists thanks to the International Biological Programme's Section on Conservation of Terrestrial Habitats. Also, Projects MAR, AQUA, and TELMA of IUCN provide lists of areas of international significance. Many countries still have peripheral wilderness areas worth-while preserving. Other regions, previously occupied by human beings but at present abandoned, are restoring themselves to wildlands. This is the case in many temperate countries in the northern hemisphere, particularly in areas of Canada, the United States and Scandinavia, where an early rural economy for subsistence has faded out with the emigration to urban and industrial areas or to lands offering more fertile soils. An example of such an abandoned area in the United States is the Catskill Mountains in the Appalachians of New York State. Deserted by farmers about 50 to 60 years ago, the wilderness is now reconquering the Catskills and restoring an ecosystem to its former shape and efficiency. The same process is going on in the proposed Adirondacks National Park, also in New York State. Given some cooperation and time, nature's ability to heal the wounds inflicted by man is remarkable. This gives us hope of restoring manly damaged ecosystems and biomes around the world. It is in the interest of each nation to plan and execute such restoration of representative landscapes so that they include an array of natural areas of significance. It has to be done before it is too late.
In global ecological planning, the already existing national parks will play an important role as a base on which to build and to complete. Even many existing national parks have to be restored, because in many of them habitats have been or still are too much influenced by human activities and therefore are altering their character. As we are dealing with dynamic entities and situations, a good deal of this restoration will take place by itself and such self-restoration is much more efficient than human attempts. Spontaneous recovery of disturbed natural habitats should be given priority even if it takes some time. However, many such restorations cannot be made adequately, even by nature itself, without revision of the national park boundaries based on ecological necessities in order to have viable nature reserves. The boundaries were often conceived under past conditions - including a different national park concept. To deal adequately at the present time with the full range of pressures and competing demands for land and water, it is necessary to re-evaluate the status and use of areas surrounding national parks. In cases where important areas cannot be added to the national parks, the latter should at least be surrounded by buffer zones, where all human activities are controlled as is stipulated by the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Such control should be based on an appraisal of the total environment of surrounding areas with emphasis on the physical, biological and social systems of which they are parts.
An adequate zoning of areas within national parks will certainly be an important trend in the next decades. This means that some areas will not be visited at all except for scientific research (strict nature reserves), others will be visited by hikers in restricted numbers (wilderness areas), a third zone will have tracks and roads, a fourth other kinds of tourist facilities, and so on. This zoning could be flexible in time if necessary, for example to exclude visitors from fragile areas during the breeding season of birds.
In the creation of a global network of national parks it should not be forgotten that the most common natural areas are also important to preserve. How far downwards, in the environmental hierarchy have we to go in order to preserve? We have so far mentioned again and again ecosystems and biomes but we have spoken very little about habitats. Obviously it would be ideal to have protected samples of all representative natural habitats of the world, but they are virtually innumerable and they will not be easy to define. In the desert of western Sahara, for example, Theodore Mound (1964) identified no less than 33 habitats! Hopefully, most biotopes will be included in the future network of national parks and major biomes covered by national parks or equivalent reserves.
It is imperative that living examples of all species of plants and animals as genetic resources be able to survive, and that large areas representing all major types of unmodified world biota, both aquatic and terrestrial, be preserved in order to permit present and future generations of mankind to understand the potential ecological diversity of natural ecosystems and the dynamic population ranges of their organisms as contrasting examples to monocultures and other man-made habitats.
We are now in a period of human history when it is necessary for the survival of human populations to plan the environment ecologically in combination with economic and social considerations. Such ecological planning must cover all renewable natural resources of the earth, and national parks will surely be a part of it. This global planning leads towards a new dimension of national parks.
Unfortunately, management is necessary in most of the world's national parks. This reflects the sad fact that very few national parks and equivalent reserves are sufficiently large and undisturbed by human action. The utilization of national parks for recreation with the increasing pressure of visitors, vehicles, aircraft and all the facilities following their wake (camping grounds, lodges, roads and airstrips) makes it absolutely essential to manage in order to conserve.
Whatever the objective for a national park, there should be a rule to minimize management measures as much as possible.
A common dilemma, particularly for those parks located in the tropics and subtropics but also in several temperate zones, is how to manage animal populations. So far, a management practice has been suppression of human predation. In most cases this is reasonable. But mammals and birds learn that they are protected in a certain area - not outside it. This creates problems. Some species may alter their migratory habits by trying to remain as long as possible inside the reserve. Others, previously living outside the national park, may be moving into it in order to escape human persecution. In this way, animal populations may increase to undesirable proportions and have adverse effects on the biocommunities. Predators, parasites and starvation may adjust the increasing populations to numbers corresponding to the carrying capacity of the area. For some species, however, these environmental mechanisms do not always immediately or at all have regulating consequences before profound habitat alterations strike back. In this sense, the creation of a national park or a sanctuary may in itself be regarded as an artificial environmental change as related to the surrounding area and the new reserve's previous status.
The question of human predation upon animals which have no other natural enemies also is a tricky problem. To what degree was man's past hunting of elephants, rhinoceroses and hippopotami a limiting factor for the populations of these species? These animals are rarely preyed upon by other than man. This query will not be answered here. The point is merely that, in the past, these big mammals had much more room on the continents they inhabitated than they have nowadays. They are now surrounded by man and unsuitable habitats and cannot move freely as before. This is particularly the case with elephant populations which normally wander over vast areas in what, in the past, were presumably century-long movements correlated to or determining vegetation cycles of similar duration. In confronting problems of this magnitude, each national park has to find its own course. No general recommendation can be made. The ecological situation inside and outside each national park must determine with research help the planning of management policy.
It has been stated many times on all continents that national parks are established for two main reasons. One is the preservation of exceptionally beautiful and interesting areas with their vegetation and animal life for the enjoyment of people. The second reason is to maintain an area (strict nature reserve or wilderness) undisturbed for scientific research and for comparisons with man-influenced areas. Both objectives can, in many cases, be met in the same national park by a system of zoning.
To meet the first requirement, the goal in most scientifically managed national park systems is to maintain plants and animals native to the area under conditions as natural as possible and which remain unaffected by human activities. This is an obviously long-term aim which must involve management except for climax habitats. It needs also the results of ecological research for guidelines.
No general management rules can exist for national parks, because ecosystems, biomes and habitats are complex structures involving many interacting and interdependent factors in different combinations for each area. Therefore, each national park must develop its own management schemes, based upon research and determined by policy. However there are some general management features which seem to be backed by an increasing international consensus of opinion expressed by numerous conferences and meetings in various parts of the world. They may be summarized as follows:
Protection should be given to all indigenous plants and animals of the area without discriminating against predators.
If a reduction of animal populations is ecologically necessary for the management of a national park, such culling shall be made by professional hunters or the national park staff only. It shall be done in such a way that visitors do not see, hear or smell what is going on.
Cropping of surplus animals for meat, hides and trophies in national parks where there is no environmental necessity to reduce animal populations is entirely inconsistent with the principles for a national park.
All plant and animal species which spontaneously immigrate into a national park should be allowed to settle there.
Re-introduction of plant and animal species or subspecies previously found in the present national park area, but which have been exterminated there due to human activities, is desirable provided the habitats available have not changed so much that they have become unsuitable for the species or subspecies.
Introduction of exotic plant and animal species and subspecies are counter to national park principles. The only permissible exception is in a case where it is judged by expertise that there is no possibility for an endangered species to survive other than by being introduced in a national park outside the species' present and past range.
No artificial feeding should be allowed in order to keep starving animals alive. Lack of food is a process regulating animal populations!
Scarcity of water has the same effect. Provision of artificially arranged watering points in periods of drought is a management tool to be used with utmost care. In the dry season, water-points function like magnets, attracting abnormally high numbers of herbivorous animals. This has a detrimental effect upon vegetation and, ultimately, upon the animals.
For the preservation of vegetation and prevention of erosion it is desirable in national parks of all climatic regions to restrict vehicles to established tracks and roads.
Snowmobiles or "skidoos" should be entirely abolished as public means of transport in national parks.
In national parks set aside in cultivated landscapes to conserve a certain type of habitat formed by human action during centuries (heaths of heather along Europe's Atlantic coasts and highlands of Scotland, coppices in Scandinavia, or meadows visited by migratory geese in Romania) there is justification in maintaining the grazing of livestock, without which these habitats and their wild animals would disappear. This particular situation stresses both the fundamental role of vegetation as a critical element in animal ecological requirements and the effect of animals upon vegetation.
It is essential that national park management keep development of visitor facilities within reasonable limits to avoid the destruction or alteration of the very values for which the national park was established and which are the reasons for visitors coming to the area. It is also vital to scientific research that large parts remain undisturbed. All these functions usually can be combined if not more than 10 per cent of a national park's area is developed for industrial tourism, provided that the remaining 90 per cent is not negatively influenced by the development. The 10 per cent includes all artificial installations such as buildings, roads, bridges, lookouts and catwalks.
These twelve points are examples of management principles. They could be extended further, but such elementary management principles as protection from logging, undesirable fires, grazing by livestock, and human settlement have been omitted. Fire alone could motivate a whole chapter. Fishing deserves special attention from a principle point of view. Sport angling and the introduction of exotic fish for angling purposes are allowed in many national parks on several continents. It is difficult for a biologist to understand why fish and aquatic habitats in national parks should be treated differently from terrestrial vertebrates and habitats. Biologically, ecologically, genetically and bio-geographically, there is absolutely no reason to consider fish and their habitats as less important components in national parks as compared to any other animal species, plant species or habitat (Curry-Lindahl 1972).
The Prime Role of National Parks is to Conserve
It must be generally recognized by all nations that the prime aim for national parks is to preserve the whole environment within the protected area in the most natural condition possible. All other purposes must be regarded as secondary. The reasons for so doing are all beneficial from social, scientific, economic and educational points of view. A particularly important conservation role for national parks is in the protection of species that are elsewhere endangered. National parks and equivalent reserves constitute the most direct and rational way to protect endangered and rare species of plants and animals through habitat and ecosystem conservation. It may be argued that species extinction is an age-old phenomenon that has occurred for eons of time before man appeared on the scene. Therefore it is sometimes asked, why bother to do anything against extinctions? This question overlooks the sad fact that man through artificial population increase (due to the medical revolution) and technological advancement, has accelerated the process of extinction by exterminating species every year and by pushing hundreds of other species to the verge of extinction on a cataclysmic scale. Moreover, in the past extinctions did not lead to ecological vacuums: replacement followed as a part of the evolutionary process. When man exterminates, there is a break in the evolutionary chain and there is no replacement. Without precedent in earth's history is the wiping out of habitats and biocommunities and of most species they include. It would go beyond the scope of this lecture to discuss the manifold reasons and advantages to humanity of doing the utmost to preserve endangered and rare species. The most efficient way of doing it is through national parks as a conservation of habitats, biomes and ecosystems.
Research in National Parks
Environmental sciences, particularly ecology, have during the last decade become increasingly important for humanity and this evolution has led to a growing demand for undisturbed research areas. This trend puts national parks in the focus of the scientific world. In ecological research, natural areas are the only conceivable reference points enabling us to draw indisputable conclusions. They stress our dependence on natural functions.
National parks also belong to the few areas of the world where long-term investigations in quality and quantity, biomasses, energy turnover and conversion rates, evolution and speciation and so forth, can go on without human intervention.
Research is also of fundamental importance to the national parks themselves, because continuous scientific investigations are needed for the maintenance of such reserves. It is on research results that policy, long-term planning, management, assessment of vulnerability of the area, limitation of visitors and so forth, must be based. A general rule should be, depending on the degree of ecological autonomy of the ecosystem covered by the national park, that management or manipulation should be kept to a minimum, and even totally excluded if possible.
Despite these elementary research needs as a basis for national park systems, very few national parks in the world received the benefit of ecological considerations and even less of ecological research during their early stages of existence. This has led to situations which jeopardize the values for which many national parks were created. Ignorance of ecological components makes it impossible to set a wise national park policy framed in ecological terms. In the absence of such knowledge, no sound objectives can be determined because it is impossible to understand the past, present and future pattern of abiotic and biotic interrelationships within habitats and ecosystems, to choose between ecological alternatives, and to foresee ecological consequences.
For determining policy and drawing up lines for long-term research, it is of basic importance to know the past history of the area concerned and to what extent it has been influenced by human impact. Each land or water system is the product of a long history of landscape formation. Without facts about the historic background to the present ecological setting of an area, there is the risk of making serious mistakes in both research and management, as well as in establishing a policy, because factors determining the prevailing situation are not understood.
It is essential to have the past and present ecology of a national park area analyzed prior to the establishment of a policy for that area. Once the policy for a national park has been determined, scientists have to find through research the answers to many questions concerning management methods leading to the policy's aims. Such replies cannot be given without a thorough knowledge of the national park's ecology.
Long-term plans for ecological research in national parks as a basis for management have been implemented only in relatively few countries. It is remarkable that the research potential of national parks is not fully utilized by the scientific world. It is even more remarkable that so many governments seem to believe that their departments can manage national park problems without the assistance of ecological research.
Rather few national park systems of the world realize the ecological complexity of areas they have in custody to keep "in perpetuity" for the nation's benefit. The fact that knowledge must precede action is generally recognized, but often it is not understood that knowledge simply does not exist without data produced by long-term ecological research or, at least, assessments by experienced ecologists. It is essential also to understand that an ecological research programme within a national park can never, once completed, be able to provide definite guidelines for all times ahead. Nature is too dynamic. Only in climax habitats may ecological research predict the future for decades, provided no external factors become involved. But even in climax areas there is no permanent ecological dominant.
A few national park organizations have during the last fifteen years integrated ecological investigations into the objectives of policy, conservation, management, utilization and development.
Here at the University of California in Berkeley I really do not need to speak at length on the necessity to undertake research in national parks, because already in 1963 your eminent conservationist and researcher Professor A. Starker Leopold, as chairman of a committee on the subject, strongly emphasized the necessity of such work by publishing a critical analysis of research needs in the U.S. national parks. I would like to seize the opportunity to pay tribute to Leopold and his colleagues because their report has in many ways inspired me in my own work when giving advice to governments on national parks.
Educational Benefits from National Parks
In the field of education, a system of national parks covering ecosystems representing a wide variety of habitats and biomes from geological, hydrological, physiographical and ecological points of view would also be of great value to each country. Climax communities are of particular educational value because they show how diversity represents productive and healthy environments, in contrast to monocultures which are only "viable" with the application of increasingly toxic pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
Ecology in action can best be studied and learned in national parks where short-term and long-term environmental processes stand out more clearly and more positively than in areas disturbed by human activities. Schools, colleges and universities need natural areas for the teaching of biology. So far, relatively little attention or understanding have been given by education planners to this elementary need in any educational system. Yet, the success of our species may depend on how young people understand the environment and man as a component of it. If we do not react, through knowledge, against factors ruining land and water, then the human future is in jeopardy.
The interpretative services of national parks are important means to get the educational conservation message across to visitors and to make each national park visit meaningful. So far only a few of the national parks in the world, except for the United States (and, on a minor scale, in some other countries) have developed this potential instrument of education at all age levels.
It is likely that education centers in national parks will in future years be important in the combat against ecological illiteracy. They will be a useful antidote against the dangerous philosophy that technological progress alone will solve all problems of mankind. To accomplish this interpretation, programs in national parks must be directed in a more general way to the total environment and the function of a living landscape rather than the elucidation of exceptional features.
The ideal way to get national park visitors to understand the environment and man's place in it is probably to follow Edwards' (1965) recommendation that the interpretation should be a combination of at least six services, namely information, guiding, educational, entertaining, propaganda and inspirational. Such educational programmes will also lead to a better public understanding of the role of national parks for the human society. The African Convention on Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources includes an article on conservation education that among other things stipulates that the Contracting States "shall make maximum use of the educational value of conservation areas." "Conservation areas" are just national parks and equivalent reserves.
Recreation and Tourism in National Parks
Recreation and tourism in national parks are social utilizations of great importance for the function of such reserves, but nevertheless they are only a part of the justification for creating national parks.
In the developing world the realization of the tourist potential of national parks and equivalent nature reserves, together with an appreciation of the economic returns, have to a great extent during the past fifteen years encouraged the establishment of such conservation areas, particularly in Africa. It is, however, interesting to note that during the last years there is an emerging and growing consciousness among some African statesmen that national parks have other and higher values than just serving to bring in economic returns from tourism. The Presidents of Tanzania, Zaire and Zambia have expressed advanced views that national parks of their countries represent a heritage of great cultural values, where nature and wildlife have to be preserved for its own sake without being developed for economic activities. Both Zaire and Zambia have established large national parks, which are not open for tourism.
For developing countries which must utilize their natural resources in a manner which contributes to the national revenue, tourism is obviously of great importance for government appreciation of the vital role national parks play in the national economy. Of course, income from tourism is far from being the only asset a national park represents. In Africa, the economic potential of national parks and nature reserves, based upon tourism and recreational revenue, is often much greater than would be the case if the same areas were developed for agriculture, forestry or other forms of exploitation.
Thanks to the establishment in Africa of a network of national parks open to visitors, a quite new industry has developed in the form of international tourism. In East Africa, particularly, this new industry has rapidly realized the enormous potential of national parks with their spectacular animal life and natural scenic beauty. In developing national parks without destroying or diminishing the natural attractions which are the very reason for the flow of tourists to the nature reserves, the East African countries have succeeded in creating a flourishing industry with relatively little investment. Today the tourist industry in the East African countries is one of the most important sources of national revenue. This industry is entirely based upon the existence of national parks and equivalent reserves.
There is no doubt, if present trends continue, that the recreational role of national parks will increase tremendously in the future. In 1970 the national parks system of the United States was visited by 172,004,600 people and those of East Africa (that is, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania) by 571,457. For the same year the foreign exchange earnings from tourists visiting Kenya alone was $53,249,700. This trend is a positive force speaking in favour of national parks but it also increases the pressure on the national parks.
I believe that with an increasingly enlightened understanding of the environment and of the lessons we can draw from it, it will be easier to defend the prime purpose, which is preservation, of national parks and equivalent reserves as irreplaceable areas against political pressure from governments, states, provinces, counties and municipalities to develop them for mass recreation.
The over-all real recreational values of national parks are difficult to assess. The physical and mental health of segments of human populations are certainly dependent on outdoor recreation in natural areas not overcrowded by human beings. The aesthetic enjoyment of such visits signifies for many people a tremendous inspiration, the value of which to society should not be underestimated. There is a quality in wild nature that is irreplaceable and that has always inspired and enchanted man. This aspect must be considered as an integral part of human culture.
Strict Nature Reserves and Wilderness Areas
A classification for various categories of protected areas was discussed and approved by the International Commission on National Parks during the 11th General Assembly of IUCN at Banff, Canada, in September 1972. This was subsequently presented to the Second World Conference on National Parks at Grand Teton National Park in the same month.
This classification of protected zones has been published by IUCN (1973). It places emphasis on the purpose for which the area was set aside and protected, and on the shaping of management to achieve this purpose. It is recognized that national parks and many equivalent reserves are usually made up of more than one of these areas; in some cases such areas are designated by the management authority.
Strict nature reserves or "strict natural zones" in IUCN's terminology have to be left undisturbed in order to have them available for scientific study, aesthetic interest, or for the contribution they can make to the value of other areas.
Wilderness areas have two principal purposes: protecting nature (defined as primary) and that of providing recreation for those capable of enduring the vicissitudes of wilderness travel by primitive means.
The increasing appreciation of wilderness is a good sign, but let us hope that it does not develop to a mass movement, because a wilderness area will cease to be wilderness if invaded by too many people at the same time. Its qualities will simply be trampled down. On the other hand, the growing public sympathy for wilderness areas might politically balance the present severe pressures on wilderness lands. Therefore, one should not be too restrictive in allowing hikers access to wilderness areas located in national parks. Since each wilderness area differs from another it must be the special values, functions, accessibility and degree of fragility characterizing each area that determines the number of visitors during different seasons of the year. Many areas can probably absorb more visitors in the autumn than in the spring. A flexible system synchronized with the seasonally variable environmental capacity to receive visitors without habitat disturbances should be worked out, guided by research. Thus a zoning system, both in space and time, may avoid damage.
National Parks and Genetic Resources
An increasingly important role of the national parks of to morrow will be to preserve the genetic diversity of life. Wild plants and animals specialized to various habitats ranging from arctic areas, deserts and alpine zones to tropical rain forests, lakes and oceans possess physiological and morphological adaptations representing irreplaceable scientific qualities, which man, when his understanding thereof has increased, can make use of in order to augment biological productivity in various regions of the world.
The population of the world is expected to double by the year 2000, but our planet's land area on which to grow food can be expanded only by the addition of gradually poorer lands at the same time as the lands now under cultivation are deteriorating due to over-utilization and other unwise land use. The fertility of crops and the productivity of both wild and domestic animal resources are therefore increasingly vital. Genetic diversity is essential to fertility and to the health of plants and animals at population level.
These facts were recognized by the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at its meeting in Nairobi in March, 1974, and it was considered that the preservation of genetic diversity should be one of UNEP's most important objectives and priority areas.
In UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) there is an important project on "conservation of natural areas and of the genetic material they contain" which will be based on a world-wide network of representative significant ecosystems called "biosphere reserves."
Marine National Parks
So far the manifold usefulness of marine national parks or equivalent reserves has been totally shadowed by terrestrial national parks, probably because the former deal with an element in which man is not entirely at home. However, in recent times it has been realized that not only marine habitats but entire seas and oceans must be protected from over-exploitation and pollution.
During the last decade marine national parks and nature reserves have become increasingly popular. This is indicated by the growing number of visitors who come from far away to skin dive and goggle at coral reefs protected by established reserves. For developing countries in tropical and subtropical countries this kind of attraction involving a non-consumptive use is indeed an important source of income.
Experiences from submarine national parks and equivalent reserves in Florida, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands of the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Kenya, Ceylon, Japan, Australia and many islands in the southern Pacific show not only the tremendous potential of these reserves but also the fact that they are easy to run, provided the control does not allow damaging activities such as dynamiting for fishing, spear fishing, collecting of shells, corals and other invertebrates and so on. The latter activities are so destructive that they sabotage the whole meaning of a submarine national park, as has unfortunately been the case in Kenya.
Coming decades will undoubtedly see the establishment of many new marine national parks. They are in principle as important as terrestrial reserves for science, education and recreation, but obviously tourism will initially be the driving factor.
Progressively it will be realized that marine reserves have also other important functions. Marine national parks and reserves are, for example, an important aspect of reef fisheries management, particularly in relation to natural recruitment of commercially important fish populations.
The last centuries have witnessed a reckless destruction of oceanic and continental islands to such an extent that at present very few island ecosystems remain intact. Insularity and isolation of marine islands have contributed to biogeographical peculiarities of great interest. They show more clearly than elsewhere the mechanism of evolution, working undisturbed through millenniums, the building up of biocommunities, and the rate of colonization of recently arrived organisms. This display of evolution is highly significant and of great scientific value for environmental understanding. Island ecosystems also provide data on land-sea interactions which are easier to understand than in the more complex continental ecosystems.
National parks comprising entire island ecosystems do not serve only as scientifically significant laboratories. They may also be utilized for recreational activities. However, so far very few such reserves exist. It is urgent to establish island ecosystem national parks before it is too late.
A very special case is the Galapagos archipelago. The unique scientific interest and importance of these islands require to be acknowledged in a world-wide scale by a rescue operation to save them from the pressures imposed by local inhabitants and lack of governmental land use control.
A Plea for the Galapagos Isles as a National Park
The University of California in Berkeley has been more involved in research in the Galapagos than any other university. Therefore, it may be appropriate to make a plea for the Galapagos archipelago here on this campus.
The whole civilized world was moved to action by the planned artificial flooding of the Nile for the Aswan High Dam project in Egypt and the Sudan, which, although claimed to be beneficial to Egypt's economy, was bound to destroy by inundation 3,000-year-old temples and monuments and at least 46 Nubian archaeological sites, apart from drowning the homeland of 122,000 Nubian villagers. Yet many of these treasures were rescued by removal before the waters rose because funds were obtained from all over the world - $36 million, in fact.
A fraction of this sum could save many animal and plant species from extinction and wild areas from destruction. But no organization or government has yet suggested similar action on a global scale for saving the vanishing treasures of nature - the living monuments from ages far older than the period of human existence.
Each species is, moreover, a master product of the environment and a result of an endless evolutionary chain, representing an unbroken line of descent from the dawn of life. One could argue forcefully that the scientific value of the mere existence of such species is much higher than that of any ancient temple.
The opposite, however, is true. The conscience and concern of man for living treasures is less, apparently, than for man-made ones. This may be a reflection of man's tremendous self-satisfaction regarding his capacity to manipulate the environment, or it may be due to his ignorance of the disastrous long-term consequences of such manipulation. It is probably both, and will unavoidably result in more trouble ahead. For instance, it leads to a dangerous apathy towards the continuous lowering in quality of man's living environment, caused by technological pressure. Moreover, the wounds inflicted on living nature by extermination of species remain forever.
Plant and animal species are far more precious than most human beings and their governments seem to realize. The species threatened by extinction in various parts of the world are not single isolated organisms which should be regarded merely as scientifically interesting or aesthetically attractive. They represent much more, because they are an integrated part of a habitat, a complete living landscape, where evolution is in full swing and, therefore, significant and important to science. Such living treasure, properly used, can enrich man's life in his cultural, educational, aesthetic and scientific endeavours and contribute ultimately to the fulfillment of his expectations for a better life.
The Galapagos Isles represent, perhaps more than any other region, an area which has fired the imagination of man ever since Charles Darwin, through his careful observation and deductions, laid the foundations of one of the greatest of all revolutions in human thought.
Therefore, the present decline of the natural habitats of Galapagos as a consequence of human action, and the threat that this represents to the wild plants and animals that depend on these habitats for their survival, can be viewed as a disaster for humanity and may be regarded as even more serious than the destruction of the ancient Egyptian temples. Unfortunately, this is not generally realized and public opinion urgently needs to be awakened to an awareness of the immense loss due to lack of action. While it is up to the authorities of Ecuador and the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Isles to take appropriate action, they can hardly hope to do it alone. The task is of such magnitude that the Foundation must seek strong allies; in fact, the support of the whole world is needed. Fortunately, the Foundation has a patron in UNESCO, which is deeply interested in the Galapagos (and which was, moreover, the UN agency which organized and sponsored the global action for saving the ancient temples at Abu Simbel). But even UNESCO's support is insufficient by itself, in view of the pressing problems.
Universal backing for present efforts to create a national park covering the whole archipelago is needed and fully justified. A "rescue operation" in the Galapagos would save not only significant ecosystems and habitats but would also serve to emphasize the importance of saving threatened species. Therefore, the benefits of such an action would not be restricted to the Galapagos. It would illustrate, in a world-wide perspective, how unchanged fragments of intact nature with a full set of animal species may bring to us many invaluable advantages and information, providing useful guidelines for development of other areas without causing destruction of their environmental productivity and health. Together with these values, the genetical importance of the preservation of animal species in a natural system must be stressed. Only in free-living populations of a species is a free exchange of genes realized. We never know in advance which environmental, chemical or medicinal use a wild species may have for humanity in the future.
The only forms of land use which seem to be compatible with the fragility and vulnerability of the biological systems in Galapagos are research and controlled tourism.
I sincerely hope that the University of California will consider initiating a global action for saving the Galapagos Isles.
Migration Routes of Mammals
National parks have an important conservation role in the protection of migratory animals. This conservation function requires special considerations in the selection and planning of national parks because it affects the location, size and boundaries of such reserves. Of particular importance to the understanding and management of an ecosystem is thorough research on how animal populations, especially mammalian ones, migrate seasonally in and outside of a national park and why. There is little point in creating a reserve for mammals if their basic food requirements for a part of the year are found outside the reserve. General knowledge of the biology of particular species is not enough. A species may be resident in one area but migratory in another even if the two areas lie close to each other. An example of such a situation is the neighbouring Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. In the former, the general majority of all large mammals migrate with a fairly regular pattern over vast areas. In contrast, the same species of ungulates living in the latter area generally spend most of their time within the area formed by the crater's walls.
There are too many examples of serious mistakes in delineating national parks due to lack of knowledge of territorial requirements and migratory patterns of mammals, particularly as to how herbivorous species fit into the ecosystem. Migration patterns have too often been drastically cut by the boundaries of a national park leaving important areas necessary for the long-term survival of many species outside the reserve-which often means that man-caused alterations make these outside -habitats unsuitable for seasonal use by migratory mammals. Such mistakes have jeopardized the purpose for which certain important national parks were established. Also watersheds and vegetation stability may be upset by unwise national park demarcations due to lack of ecological insight.
In the future, ecosystem dimensional considerations for national park boundaries, particularly in regard to populations of mammals, will certainly play a much bigger role than hitherto.
Flyways of Birds
You Americans know better than any other people how important it is to provide a network of suitable habitats to migrating birds, particularly waterfowl. For swans, geese, ducks and waders lakes, marshes and swamps are not only essential during the breeding period but also for feeding and resting while on migration, for moulting, and for wintering purposes. Canada, the United States and Mexico have shown the way to effective waterfowl management through internationally coordinated action. Your network of reserves and refuges for waterfowl has yet to be paralleled in other parts of the world. The Convention on the Conservation of Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat, adopted in Ramsar, Iran, 1971, is aiming at the preservation, management and wise utilization of the most important wetlands of Europe, Asia and Africa with the particular purpose of building up a network of nature reserves for aquatic birds within the range they utilize for their various activities.
But there are also migratory birds other than waterfowl that require availability of suitable habitats and protection in certain areas where they periodically concentrate in great numbers. Passerine birds often migrate on a broad front crossing seas and deserts. They are in great need of protected areas for feeding and resting after they have made such a crossing, for instance over the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea or the Sahara Desert, the South China Sea or the Bay of Bengal. Yet, their points of arrival, particularly in the Mediterranean area, are regularly the scene of mass slaughter through trapping and shooting during both the vernal and fall migrations. These massacres hit indiscriminately both rare and common species. Here, a network of protected areas is necessary and of international interest. Some oases in the Sahara also function as feeding and resting stations, although it appears that the birds find these more at random while crossing the Sahara on a broad front.
Birds of prey often congregate in great numbers at certain sites, due to physio-geographical factors. Many species follow land contours, because they prefer not to fly over wide open seas or great lakes. Obviously, birds are very vulnerable to human persecution at such passage sites, where hecatombs of raptors fall victim every year to human greed or pleasure. Examples of important areas for seasonal mass migration and/or resting of birds of prey are many parts of Central America, Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania, the Bosphorus in Turkey, the archipelago of Greece, Malta, Cyprus, and the Falsterbo Peninsula in Sweden.
All these areas of great importance for migratory birds should be preserved at least during the passage periods. A few of them already are.
Breeding Sites of Migratory Reptiles
Marine turtles belong to one of the world's most important assets as a protein resource both in form of meat and eggs. Moreover, they also produce oily substances, fat, carapace ("turtle shell") and other items which are highly paid for in world markets. Therefore, all populations of marine turtles have been seriously depleted. In this ongoing destruction the egg-laying sites of marine turtles are key areas for their survival. An international effort must be made to give all marine turtles adequate protection on their breeding grounds and adjacent sea areas in order to restore their populations to a level which would allow sustainable yields. Only a global network of strictly protected shore reserves during the breeding seasons can save these very economically useful reptiles.
Migration Pathways for Fish
It is almost too late to preserve any major river system in its entirety. There would be many ecological and economic. advantages in doing so - hydrological, limnological, ichtyological and so forth. Migratory routes for fish utilizing national park water systems have often been cut or negatively influenced due to human-caused interferences both inside and outside national parks. It would certainly be of great ecological value to mankind if at least some river systems supporting migratory fish, both anadromous species and species spending their whole life cycle in freshwater, could be preserved.
Human Populations and National Parks
It is essential that the establishment of national parks and equivalent reserves shall not be imposed on human populations living in and around these areas by the authorities of a country. Bitter experiences have shown how important it is that local populations understand from the beginning how the setting aside of a national park may produce long-term improvements of their own life conditions both at individual and collective levels.
The problem of compensation to local populations directly concerned with the activities of national parks is a tricky one. One of the most important things is to eliminate the antagonism that local populations in developing countries often have against national parks. This negative attitude in most cases is induced by psychological and economic reasons. As adviser in ecology and conservation to almost 40 African governments during four years, I have discussed this problem with government officials in quite a number of countries. According to my experiences from other continents, the situation is very similar in developing countries outside Africa, but perhaps less burning than in Africa where the revenues from national parks are usually higher and more visible than elsewhere due to a flourishing tourist industry. This is particularly the case in East Africa.
In most cases local populations living in the neighbourhood of national parks feel that it is their land which has been "taken away" from them, although in every case I know of these people, or their chiefs or their villages or their county councils, have been compensated in various forms according to deals which have been agreed upon after long and often complicated enquiries, hearings and negotiations. Both the colonial regimes and the present governments have in the cases I know of been meticulous to settle all land ownership problems before a deal was concluded. This means that from legal aspects the populations concerned have no reasons to complain.
However, after having understood that some national parks are gold mines yielding considerable revenues, many individuals, village groups and tribes living close to national parks feel that they get very little out of them. Even if they did not virtually live in the national parks prior to their establishment, they often used them for hunting, fishing, charcoal burning and so forth. Therefore, they consider the area as their land, that in many cases had been used as hunting grounds by their ancestors for hundreds of years.
The fact that the local people no longer have the right to utilize the land that they consider was once theirs, but see it frequently visited by foreign people, brings in psychological reactions. Most local leaders realize the benefits and advantages that their county councils (or similar units) receive from national park revenues, but the individuals do not. The local revenues from national parks are often invested in building of schools, hospitals, roads and other communal services. The very fact that the local benefit is collective makes it inconspicuous to the individuals of the community, particularly since they feel that these social investments should be made anyway, as is the case for communities located far away from national parks where there are no revenues at all from the park. On this point the people are right, without doubt.
In addition to the problems just mentioned is the pressure from the people to get land for cultivation and livestock grazing. Ecologically and economically it would be disastrous to convert marginal lands (on which most national parks in the tropics are located) to such a land use, which automatically sooner or later leads to over-cultivation, over-grazing, over-trampling and, finally, an ecological collapse with a ruined landscape as a result. But socially, politically and psychologically it is difficult for governments and county councils to withstand the human hunger for land. This is, of course, a problem which ultimately can only be solved by long-term planning of populations.
As it is essential for the future of national parks in developing countries that the people do not consider conservation areas as antagonistic to national and local interests, I have often in my discussions with governments taken up the very important subject of how to channel national revenues derived from national parks to local populations living in the areas directly concerned.
As it is quite clear that most people living within the sphere of a national park feel that they have no advantage from it despite the building of schools, hospitals, etc., it seems to be important psychologically that each head of family or adult village citizen receive some form of individual compensation as a token of the benefit coming from national parks. As in most cases the majority of the people concerned have such a low annual income that they do not pay any taxes, the compensation cannot be in the form of reduced taxes. Therefore, I have suggested in discussions with several African governments a system of annual cash compensation. I believe that such a concrete contribution at individual level will have a considerable psychologically positive effect and will turn local people sympathetic to "their" national parks. Moreover, it is important to make clear to the people that all public buildings, roads and other communal facilities, which have been developed from national park revenues, really have derived from this source. A well-displayed plaque reminding people that a school or a hospital exists thanks to the revenue from the national parks or come "from the animals of X National Park," would certainly in the long run contribute to making people understand that it is to their benefit to live close to a national park.
There have been different reactions in various countries to the proposal of cash compensation at individual level. Some government officials have welcomed this suggestion and feel that it is feasible; others are against it for reasons of principle.
In my view a flexible approach to this problem is necessary, because in some countries the local animosity against national parks may jeopardize their future. This would, in the long run, undoubtedly be a tragic loss not only to the region concerned but also to the nation and to the world.
Particularly in the tropics but also elsewhere (for example in Hokkaido) primitive tribes are living in or just outside national parks. Should they be allowed to occupy national parks or to use them for collecting, fishing and hunting? In my opinion they have to be permitted to do so if they so wish, provided they utilize the environment in the same way as do the Indian tribes in the Amazonas, the pygmies in the equatorial lowland rain forest of the Congo, the negritos in Mount Apo National Park in Mindanao of the Philippines, the Papuans of New Guinea, and the aborigines of Australia. All these groups make use of the environment as collectors, scavengers and hunters in exactly the same way as wild animals do: they utilize resources without destroying them. They are a natural part of the ecosystems.
Today, few people deny that living plants and animals are important to mankind for a variety of reasons that transcend usefulness. It is therefore our duty to preserve as much as we can not only for ourselves but also for future generations. The most direct way of doing this is to set aside national parks and nature reserves representing the major habitats, biomes and ecosystems of the world.
The fact that a considerable part of public interest in conservation is motivated by ethical beliefs should be respected. To many people it gives immense satisfaction to know that wild habitats and wild animals are protected at least somewhere, even if many of these people for various reasons are unable to visit these areas.
Those who have had an opportunity to study closely mammals such as primates, carnivores, seals and whales, have been struck by their admirably high degree of intelligence, by their individual characters, by their personalities, and by their developed social systems. They show convincingly that man is not the only ethical animal. It would be absurd to claim that these animals have no intrinsic right to exist. Of course, also other animal species than the four orders just mentioned live meaningful lives not only within their own communities but also as a part of ecosystems. They too have an intrinsic right to exist, and they can do so in national parks. It is also primarily in national parks that man can get rid of the many fallacies and misconceptions concerning animals that have prevailed for generations.
The ethical aspects of nature and its animals does not yet carry much weight in a world where everything must have an economic value to be appreciated. In the future, recognition will certainly be much more widespread than at present. Raymond F. Dasmann (1964) even goes so far as to say there is good reason to believe that if we do not accept such an ethic, the future of man on this planet is likely to be short and violent. Dasmann refers to Aldo Leopold's words (1949) of a "land ethic" that implies respect for our fellow members (plants and animals) of the land community and also respect for this biocommunity as such.
National Parks - a Key to Environmental Understanding
I believe we all agree that national parks and equivalent nature reserves as a sensible use of natural resources play an important role in the scientific, educational, economic, cultural and recreational activities of many countries. Yet, it seems to me that it is the ecological role of national parks to provide humanity with a key to environmental understanding that is the most fundamental and important function of such nature reserves besides all other advantages they give us. Particularly in our time of very rapid social evolution this aspect of national parks is of paramount importance.
Despite this, few people realize or even think of this function of national parks. In the United States, Darling and Eichhorn (1967) in a survey on man and nature in the U.S. national parks found surprisingly few people who had an appreciation of what national parks are for. This may be due to the fact that in the United States national parks have flourished for such a long time that people take it for granted that these reserves only serve as pleasure grounds for outdoor recreation.
If we accept the notion that national parks are set aside primarily for preserving species, habitats, biomes and ecosystems as national assets and reference areas for environmental understanding to our own benefit, then all other uses of these reserves must be planned so they do not hamper the main function.
A Global Network of National Parks
The national park systems of most countries are incomplete. Future work must therefore be planned to include examples of major landscape types with their geological and biological resources intact. In most cases this endeavour must necessarily mean restoration schemes, because most ecosystems are already destroyed or altered. Fortunately, natural systems have great self-restoring powers and left to themselves will recover progressively provided destruction by humans is not irreversible. We can help in this recovery by carefully planned measures in order to speed up the process.
The world of tomorrow will fully realize the importance of having intact ecosystems in various parts of the world for comparative studies-comparisons with areas which have been heavily or modestly used. We need such comparisons from which governments, landscape planners and society as a whole can draw conclusions and lessons that intact ecosystems can teach us. Without these intact areas we have nothing for comparison and this would be a shortcoming for the future existence of mankind. These ecosystems, of course, are extremely important in themselves and this need not be emphasized.
Such large areas could be used as national parks because they would be preserved, and if a representative ecosystem is preserved in the form of a national park it is not necessary to exclude all other activities so long as these activities are not detrimental to the area preserved.
I am pleased to report to you that at the Second Meeting of the Governing Council of the UNEP in Nairobi in March the importance of preserving ecosystems, biomes and habitats through an expanded network of national parks and equivalent reserves was emphasized by many delegations. It was suggested that particular attention should be paid to geographical regions such as West Africa, Asia, Antarctica, Indian Ocean, and to ecological regions such as oceans, seas, coasts, wetlands, forests and arid lands. In this context the vulnerability of wetlands to human activities was stressed. The importance of marine national parks was mentioned in different ways by several delegations.
The 1973 United Nations List of National Parks and Equivalent Reserves (IUCN 1973) lists 978 areas in 97 countries. They form the basis for a future, expanded global network of national parks which hopefully will be a part of the ecological planning during the next decades. It is a great but necessary task to protect the already existing national parks, because they represent some samples of the world's major habitats, biomes and ecosystems. However, these samples must be completed so that they cover a wide spectrum of the world's natural areas.
The desirability, not to say the necessity, of establishing a global network of national parks and equivalent reserves has been emphasized in this lecture. The advantages of such a system have been explained. An idea conceived in the United States is a World Heritage Trust, that in the form of an international convention will safeguard for all times outstanding natural environments, by preference at an ecosystem level-or at least representing natural units.
This trust is in the form of an international convention taken care of by UNESCO. In addition to natural areas having unique world-wide value it also includes cultural sites such as historical and archeological monuments of similar values. They will be treated as part of the heritage of all mankind. Such an arrangement would impose no limitations on the sovereignty of those nations which choose to participate, but would extend special international recognition to the areas which qualify and would make available technical and other assistance to help in their protection and management.
Hopefully, most of the world's most valuable national parks will be part of this Heritage Trust. It is appropriate here to quote a passage from your President's message in 1971 to the Congress on the environment: "Confronted with the pressures of population and development, and with the world's tremendously increased capacity for environmental modification, we must act together now to save for future generations the most outstanding natural areas as well as places of unique historical, archaeological, architectural, and cultural value to mankind."
The Integrity of National Parks
In connection with the transfer of the Yosemite Valley in California to a public resort status in 1864, Congress declared that "some lands should be held in public ownership, perpetually, for other than material gain or richness." One hundred and five years later the 10th General Assembly of IUCN, meeting in New Delhi, adopted unanimously a definition of a national park adhering to the same philosophy.
Hence the concept of the integrity of national parks has been in existence even before the very first national park was created 102 years ago. It is not a new philosophy. Yet, numerous governments have violated this concept by exploitation of national parks leading to serious destruction.
Even in the United States, where the idea of "perpetual preservation" was born, a dam to provide water for San Francisco was proposed about 70 years ago. The proposal was fought by conservationists throughout the country led by John Muir and the Sierra Club. The fight went on for years, but in 1913 the Congress passed the bill and the dam was built. That was the last time a dam was authorized to be built in a U.S. National Park. Since then the U.S. has respected the integrity of national parks. Unfortunately, other governments have shown less responsibility by exploiting national parks for hydro-electric purposes and other uses with consequences so grave that they have destroyed for all time irreplaceable values. Private conservation organizations have fought bitterly against their governments' lack of foresight and wisdom but usually without results. Irreversible destruction, caused by governments, has taken place in national parks and equivalent reserves in many countries.
As a Swede I regret to say that Sweden has during the last decades by destruction through governmental projects, ravished more national parks and equivalent reserves than any other country. Her government has without economic pressure initiated and exploited one national park and nature reserve after another. The destruction is still going on despite protests from responsible national and international conservation organizations during the last 30 years.
The example from Sweden shows that in some flagrant cases of environmental misuse and violation of national parks, it is imperative to exercise international pressure on a government in order to get it to respect the national parks' integrity and international conservation solidarity.
It is obvious that national parks and equivalent reserves must be protected against all human exploitation of their natural resources and against all other derogation of their integrity resulting from human activity.
It is time in our stage of civilization and after ion years of national parks activities in the world, that all nations declare their acceptance of the integrity of national parks as a universal act of solidarity. Man-made major modifications in national parks must be banned in the interest of humanity. Such a decision would be a step forward for our civilization.
Cahn, R. 1968. Will success spoil the national parks? Boston.
Curry-Lindahl, K. 1972. Ecological research and management. In J. P. Harroy (ed.) World National Parks. Progress and Opportunities, pp. 197-213. Brussels.
Darlinf, F. F. and Eichorn, N. D. 1967. Man and Nature in National Parks. Washington.
Dasmann, R. P. 1964. Wildlife Biology. New York.
Edwards, R. Y. 1965. What is park interpretation? (Mimeographed paper to the Canadian National Parks Branch Training School) . 7 pp-.
IUCN. 1973. 1973 United Nations List of National Parks and Equivalent Reserves. IUCN Publications New Series. 27:1-48.
Leopold, A. 1949. A Sand County Almanac. New York.
Leopold, A. S., Robbins, W. J., et al. 1963. A Report by the Advisory Committee to the National Park Service on Research. National Academy of Sciences, Wash-ington.
Monod, T. 1964. The strict nature reserve and its role. In: A.
B. Adams (ed.): First World Conference on National Parks, pp. 259-267.
Introducing: Barry Commoner
Travel between Swedish Lapland and the equatorial regions of Africa is a normal part of the life cycle of certain trans-equatorial migratory birds. So, too, such travel must be a part of the life style of those such as Kai Curry-Lindahl who would study them.
Dr. Curry-Lindahl is a native of Sweden and a distinguished zoologist whose major research interests have been in the ecology, biology, and population dynamics of vertebrates, particularly in the subarctic and arctic areas of Swedish Lapland and in the tropical areas of Africa. He has made important contributions to the knowledge of the physiology of migratory birds.
Throughout his career he has been actively concerned with the preservation of natural areas, with contributing to the understanding and solution of environmental problems, with land use planning, and with the whole complex network of man's interactions with his environment. From 1943 to 1952 he served as editor of Sveriges Natur, the publication of the Swedish Society for the Conservation of Nature. In 1953 he was appointed as Director of the Department of Natural History of the Nordic Museum and Skansen, Stockholm. While continuing to hold this post, he has frequently been on leave to serve as a participant in or leader of various zoological-ecological expeditions in many parts of the world, as a lecturer at a number of universities, and, particularly in recent years, as an adviser in environmental matters to various governmental bodies and to the United Nations.
In 1968 and1969 he served as special consultant to UNESCO for the Intergovernmental Conference of Experts on the Scientific Basis for Rational Use and Conservation of the Resources of the Biosphere. From 1970 through 1973 he served as expert in ecology and conservation for Africa for UNESCO and the United Nations Development Programme. He now holds the position of Senior Adviser, United Nations Environment Programme, with headquarters in Nairobi. In this post he is concerned with environmental issues throughout the world.
His interest in national parks is of long standing. From 1966 through 1972 he served as Vice-Chairman of the International Commission on National Parks of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Among the 57 books he has written or edited is a two-volume study of the national parks of the world.
He has drawn on his world-wide experience in preparing this Albright
lecture on Horace Albright's consuming interest - the national parks.