The exponential increase in the number and coverage of protected areas worldwide represents the past century's most notable conservation success. Nonetheless, many protected areas are ineffectively managed. Assessments of management effectiveness have generally looked at three areas: design, management processes, and ecological integrity. This article describes these areas in greater depth, discusses some of the differences between assessment approaches, and introduces each of the subsequent four articles on protected area assessments.
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Vol. 53 • No. 9