As a leading consultancy firm since 1982, GFA has long-standing experience in protected area (PA) management and biodiversity conservation. With more than 60 conservation specialists as well as subsidiaries and strategic partners in many countries, GFA provides successful and efficient conservation solutions that balance the needs of people and the environment. GFA works in a broad range of coastal and inland PAs – transboundary conservation areas, national parks, wildlife reserves and sanctuaries, and eco-corridors. We assist governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as local communities in reinforcing sustainable management principles. GFA is convinced that long-term success in PA management depends on an integration of PAs and their management into the wider land- or seascape and the concerns of society as a whole. The core of the GFA approach is based on an integrative spatial planning and management approach that focuses on balancing conservation objectives and local economic development. This, we believe, will reduce poverty, enhance ownership and, as a result, will decrease the pressure bearing on PAs.
Involving the private sector in the development of sustainable business opportunities in PAs and the intervening landscape is an essential element of our concept. Our key objective is to foster forest-dependent people, intermediary bodies and partners through capacity building so they can develop organizationally, ecologically and socially in a sustainable and self-determined way. This is in line with CBD principles emphasizing the importance of sustainable use strategies addressed by a combination of participatory, ecosystem and governance approaches. The new challenges for national PA systems are connectivity and representation of all ecosystems (Aichi Targets). PA-Management by objectives and financial sustainability are crucial elements to these principles as well.
GFA concept and services
GFA´s range of services in PA management is related to three building blocks:
- Protected area planning and management
- Comunity-based natural resources management
- Protected area governance and capacity building
We focus on helping our partners efficiently manage conservation projects. Our range of services entails studies as well as conceptual, strategic, and technical consultancy in a wide variety of fields. Integrated PA planning and management including related infrastructure development and gazettement is the heart of the matter. Strengthening PA governance incorporates co-management structures & mechanisms such as anti-poaching systems or human-wildlife conflict management. We advise biodiversity conservation and valuation by making use of wildlife survey techniques and managing sustainable financing mechanisms such as REDD+ or payment for ecosystem services (PES). As mentioned, support to socio-economic development based on sustainable production by developing non-timber forest product value chains or ecotourism is an important element of the GFA approach. Reliable monitoring systems making use of remote sensing technologies and GIS as well as the conceptualization and implementation of awareness raising campaigns and human capacity development programs support the surveillance of ecosystem functions of PAs.