Page 239

  • to maintain genetic resources in a dynamic and evolutionary state;

  • to maintain established ecological processes;

  • to safeguard structural landscape features or rock exposures;

  • to secure examples of the natural environment for scientific studies, environmental monitoring and education, including baseline areas from which all avoidable access is excluded;

  • to minimize disturbance by careful planning and execution of research and other approved activities; and

  • to limit public access.

Guidance for Selection

  • The area should be large enough to ensure the integrity of its ecosystems and to accomplish the management objectives for which it is protected.

  • The area should be significantly free of direct human intervention and capable of remaining so.

  • The conservation of the area's biodiversity should be achievable through protection and not require substantial active management or habitat manipulation (c.f. Category IV).

Organizational Responsibility

Ownership and control should be by the national or other level of government, acting through a professionally qualified agency, or by a private foundation, university or institution which has an established research or conservation function, or by owners working in cooperation with any of the foregoing government or private institutions. Adequate safeguards and controls relating to long-term protection should be secured before designation. International agreements over areas subject to disputed national sovereignty can provide exceptions (e.g., Antarctica).

Equivalent Category in 1978 System

Scientific Research/Strict Nature Reserve


Wilderness Area: Protected Area Managed Mainly for Wilderness Protection


Large area of unmodified or slightly modified land, and/or sea, retaining its natural character and influence, without permanent or significant habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural condition.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement