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Teide National Park

Teide National Park, proposed by Spain as a best practice, is interesting as a case study for the following aspects: management activities following environmental standards, local stakeholder participation, education and interpretation programme, apiculture, and controlling public use.

Summary provided by State Party

The landscape is one of the principle resources of the National Park and one of the main reasons it was added to the World Heritage List. In order to guarantee its conservation and renewal, following criteria that seek to maintain its natural features as much as possible, a programme has been developed based on the following points:

Strict protection of geological resources.
Protection of the plant covering:
  • Given that the two principle factors that negatively affect the National Park are the presence of introduced herbivores and the impact of climate change, a programme to monitor the evolution of the ecosystem is carried out which focuses on quantifying the impact of these two factors. This control is carried out on two networks of permanent plots of sample land which span all of the habitats that exist in the National Park and the different ecotones between them. One of these networks is made of 500 x 500 m grids which are precisely mapped out based on the UTM grid WGS84, and the other is based on a local sample in which at each location three 10 x 10 m plots of land are established providing different levels of access to predators. At the same time specific studies are carried out to identify the ecological needs of each taxon in order to apply this knowledge to management measures.
  • Controlling threat factors, especially the populations of introduced herbivores, which have become the principle disturbance to the ecosystem.
  • Mitigating activities designed to decrease the pressure of these principle threat factors. The data obtained from the different scientific studies carried out and mentioned earlier support integral measures to restore the habitat. This has led to fencing in large, relatively barren areas to allow the summit scrub to recover free from the impact of herbivores. Recovering the ecosystem will later allow less abundant threatened species to expand, many of which had regressed because they lacked appropriate ecological niches. Finally, actions have been taken to protect areas that had been affected by fires or natural
  • disasters against herbivores by fencing in the entire area in order to allow it to recover naturally.
  • Controlling Public Use in order to guarantee the protection of the natural resources through the following measures:
    • Zoning which creates different categories of sectors within the territory, each with its own regime of uses.
    • Channelling mass tourism around the highways by establishing a network of lookout points, parking areas and other facilities.
    • Closing non-paved trails and installing lateral protection on the edges of the highways to avoid the dispersion of vehicles.
    • Implementing a suitable surveillance system.
    • Establishing a network of 35 trails covering a total of 155 km, all of them with signs, which allows practically the entire Park to be visited on foot.
    • Providing interpretation facilities and material to visitors, thus allowing them to gain a clear and concise idea of the richness and importance of the Park’s natural heritage.
Calculating the carrying capacity of each sector of the National Park to guarantee both the conservation of its resources as well as the quality of the visit.

One-off Initiative for the recognition of best practices

The World Heritage Capacity Building Strategy, adopted by the World Heritage Committee in 2011, responds to the identified needs of a diverse and growing audience for capacity building for World Heritage conservation and management activities. Development of resource materials such as best practice case studies and communication tools are among the activities foreseen by the strategy to improve these capacities.

An example of an innovative capacity building initiative is the recently concluded Recognition of Best Practice in World Heritage Management. This initiative, requested by the World Heritage Committee and carried out within the framework of the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention in 2012, solicited applications from World Heritage properties which had demonstrated new and creative ways of managing their sites. Twenty-three submissions were received and evaluated by a 10-member international selection committee which included the representatives of the Convention’s Advisory Bodies, ICCROM, ICOMOS and IUCN. The Historic Town of Vigan in the Philippines was chosen as a best practice achieved with relatively limited resources, a good integration of the local community in many aspects of the sustainable conservation and management of the property and with an interesting multi-faceted approach to the protection of the site.

Management practices recognized as being successful and sustainable can include everything from involving local people in site management, to creating innovative policies and regulating tourism. There are sites that include students from local schools in the management of the site (Slovenia), train local inhabitants as tour guides (Peru), or even put up nylon fences to protect villagers from straying tigers from the Sundarbans National Park (India). Sharing these practices helps other sites find solutions that work.

This initiative provides incentives for States Parties and site managers to reflect on their management practices and explore improvement possibilities.