There are concerns that many national parks and protected areas worldwide are ineffective at protecting biological diversity and ecosystem processes, are socially unjust in their relations with Indigenous communities, or both. This paper outlines what we believe are the key criteria and indicators for evaluating social equity and ecological integrity in terrestrial national parks and protected areas. These criteria and indicators were developed through: (1) a detailed review of relevant literature; (2) a pilot analysis of the management plans and management direction statements from 14 national and provincial parks in Canada, Australia, and South Africa (countries with robust and extensive national parks systems and which share a common legacy of land dispossession followed by the subsequent pursuit of land claims by disadvantaged groups); and (3) an in-depth case study examination of six national parks.
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