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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

The vital role of rangers in conservation


Global biodiversity is declining at an unprecedented rate. The majority of the protected and conserved areas (PCAs) that are the core elements of protecting the world’s biodiversity, and the ecosystem services it provides, are not under sound management. Adequate numbers of competent, well-resourced, and well-led rangers are the foundation for effective management of these PCAs. However, the majority of rangers are unrecognized, under-appreciated, and under-resourced. Rangers operate under poor and dangerous working environments with inadequate employment conditions. The International Ranger Federation (IRF), as a global representative body of rangers, has been working to connect and recognize rangers through several initiatives, including the triennial World Ranger Congress (WRC). The Chitwan Declaration of the 9th WRC, held in Nepal in 2019, strongly encourages those who manage PCAs that employ rangers to identify shortcomings, and thereafter introduce measures to improve outcomes. The Universal Ranger Support Alliance (URSA) is an alliance of seven conservation organizations to support IRF with the implementation of the Chitwan Declaration. URSA has developed a global five-year action plan to accomplish lasting transformation to create a professional, responsible, and accountable ranger workforce that is properly valued, led, and supported. URSA itself and the action plan provide a global platform for individual conservation professionals, rangers, conservation organizations, and ranger employers to work together in supporting rangers—the first responders responsible for maintaining the health of the planet.

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