A case study is given of a conservation management planning exercise underway in Cat Tien National Park and its surrounding areas in southern Vietnam. The importance of reliable information in this process is demonstrated using the Park's mammalian diversity. Opportunities and constraints to engage the local communities in conservation management planning and implementation are reviewed. The spatial element in protected area management planning is stressed; in some areas strict preservation management regimes are needed to conserve critical biodiversity values while in other areas conservation benefits could be gained from engaging local communities in resource management. Pragmatic conservation management planning decisions address identified threats, to be resolved by re-demarcation of boundaries, resettlement of people, and community-based conservation initiatives. These should result in a more viable Park as well as provide more secure livelihood conditions for the people elsewhere. This case study is put in the context of the wider conservation management debate.
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