Wilderness and Cultural Landscapes: shifting management emphases in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area

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A major 5 year review of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area management plan 1992 by the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service resulted in a new plan in 1999. As part of the process, a 1997 draft circulated for comment had flagged significant changes in management prescriptions: these changes represented responses from the planners to protests from communities who argued that the 1992 document, in the name of wilderness preservation, had ignored their long-standing involvement with land inside World Heritage boundaries. Using a cultural heritage perspective, this paper analyses the 1999 plan (which was virtually unchanged from the 1997 draft), and contrasts it with the 1992 management assumptions. Specific provisions designed to address aspects of community concern are explained. The shift in management emphasis is interpreted as a reflection of recent debates about relationships between wilderness and cultural landscapes, and about community roles in conservation. This change in Tasmania also points to possibilities for gaining support for a broader conservation perspective through a new, different kind of community involvement in the management of national parks.
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