|Planning National Parks for Ecodevelopment - Methods and Cases from Latin America (Peace Corps, 1982)|
|Chapter IV. The evolution of national park planing in Latin America|
The Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences of the OAS mate the above cited study in 1968 of the Forestry Schools in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. This study formed part of IICA's project with advanced educational institutions in southern Sourh America, under the vision and dynamic leadership of Alfonso Castronovo. Among the results of that study was evidence that few educational opportunities were available in the management of wildlands.
To put this concern into perspective: even if the Latin American governments were to recognize the developmental and environmental importance and urgency of managing their nations' nature, and cultural wealth, and if they were to establish systems of parks and reserves to meet the necessary opportunities and responsibilities, who would manage these conservation areas? Where will the managers come from? How will they receive the necessary training?
In response to the findings of the study, IICA initiated several activities. As already noted in Stage 6, a series of educational efforts in wildland management were initiated. In April 1°69, a seminar was held in Iguazu National Park, Argentina, for forestry professors from the southern universities. The concepts of wildland management were presented, and discussions were held on the need for wildland managers in each country. The seminar then concentrated on the requirements for adding wildland management and related topics to the existing curriculum in each faculty, and to the means to develop faculty capacity to teach these materials.
The Forestry Faculty of the Austral University of Chile invited IICA to present a short course in wildland management to forestry students completing their fourth and fifth years. The sister forestry faculties of the southern countries were invited to send a professor to participate and observe the presentation of the material. IICA/FAO sent a professor to teach the short course, IICA supplies the scholarships for the visiting forestry professors, and the Austral Forestry Faculty mate all local arrangements including field work in nearby Puyehue National Park.
As a result of the enthusiasm generated by the Austral University course, the IICA directors decided to offer scholarships to the forestry faculties to sent professors to the Graduate School in Turrialba, Costa Rica, where they would join the regular one-semester graduate course in wildland management. From September through December 1969, five professors from the southern Universities worked intensively at Turrialba, and on field work in Costa Rica and Colombia.
By 1971 courses in wildland management or some related focus (watershed management, national park management) were being offered in each of the nine forestry schools. FAO continued to work with the schools in an effort to determine follow-up requirements. In cooperation with the FAO Regional Project on Wildland Management, the nine schools of forestry and the forest and park services of each of the five countries, a new project for technical cooperation was developed. The objective was to provide a concentrated training program and practical experience for the professors teaching wildland management. Most professors could not leave their faculty responsibilities for extended periods, nor did the schools have access to funds for scholarships to other continents. There were few opportunities locally for the professors to gain practical experience and few foreign universities offered programs of direct relevance to local needs.
The project provided for two, ten-week summer workshops, financial support for the purchase of library materials related to wildland management, and advisory services on curriculum development. The "First International Workshop on Wildland Management" concentrated on national park planning and was held in the Puyehue National Park, Chile during the first quarter of 1972. The professors worked through methods for planning, management and development. field survey, inventory, mapping, conceptual analysis, design, engineering, budgeting, and final preparation of planning publications were treated during the workshop. All professors had previous experience to contribute; each contributed to the others. Planning exercises were realized in Puyehue and Vicente Perez Rosales National Parks, the results of which were presented to officers and directors of the National Forestry Corporation. Each professor finished the workshop with a full set of class notes end guidelines for theoretical and practical programs of teaching and research at his home faculty.
During the first quarter of 1973, the professors and FAO personnel met at Iguazu National Park, Argentina for the "Second International Workshop." The group concentrated on management methods and techniques and carried out field exercises in the park, in the Iguacu Park of Brazil, and other sites in Brazil and Paraguay The participants examined the Y'bicuí area of Paraguay and lent support to its establishment as that nation's first national park. Again, specific exercises were realizer to offer the participants an appreciation of the nature and characteristics of management. A "management Prospectus" for Iguazu National Park and National Reserve was prepared and presented for discussion with the Argentine Minister of Agriculture.59 Again, the professors returned to their faculties with a full set of class notes and guidelines, including the management prospectus and accompanying maps to serve as an example of the application of principles to a particular case in which they had personally participated.
The efforts of the countries of Central America and Panama to develop a regional plan for national parks and reserves have already been noted. In 1974, the FAO Regional Project assigned two officers to Central America to provide technical cooperation. Among the first activities requested by the governments was a training workshop for park managers and directors. The participants prepared a plan for Volcan Pacaya National Park,60 Guatemala, as their major workshop activity. Subsequently, the FAO officers and national professionals were involved in the planning and establishment of demonstration or pilot parks in their respective countries.61
The major contribution of the workshops was the rapid, intensive and concentrated form in which methods and techniques were imparted to key individuals. They received direct field experience and were able to carry out planning, management and development tasks shortly thereafter. The workshop approach to education and training provided the context for "working together," for teaching each other, and for an intensive period of sharing. This synergistic aspect is of utmost importance to develop confidence and leadership qualities and to ensure adequate field experience, not as observer but as participant. Additional benefits included the spread of information on methods, techniques, concepts, norms and standards for wildland management, national parks, wildlife, watershed conservation and related fields.