Sustainable management model of protected areas typified on El Guácharo National Park, Venezuela
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Este trabajo se planteó como objetivo principal el diseño de estrategias que contribuyan al autofinanciamiento y a la optimización del manejo de la visitación en el Parque Nacional El Guácharo, Venezuela. Para el logro de dicho objetivo fue necesario la determinación y el análisis comparativo respecto de la situación actual de la capacidad de carga turística, la capacidad de manejo, la actividad financiera y la participación de la comunidad local. Sin embargo al analizar la situación real excluyendo los ingresos provenientes del proyecto se concluye que sólo a partir de los ingresos propios, el PNEG no es económicamente autosostenible ya que éstos sólo cubren el 70,2 por ciento de los costos totales. Besides of in situ conservation of Biodiversity, protected areas represent economic, social and cultural benefits for society. In Latin America, few protected areas have the necessary suupport for the optimization of these benefits. Among the most important causes of this problem are the unplanned management and the insufficient financial resources for their manteinance. In the public system of protected areas the government is the main source of financial support, but in most cases, these is not enough for paying the operating necessities. In Venezuela, the protected areas are covered by the legal figure called Areas Under Especial Administrative Regiment. Nowadays this country has 43 National Parks, which are administrated by the Instituto Nacional de Parques (INPARQUES). These parks cover an extension of 14.101.386 ha representanting 15.4 percent of the national territory, however few have developed the Ecoturism as an alternative instrument to generate self-financing and a suitable management of visitors. This investigation has as the main objective, the design of strategies for self-financing and the optimization of the management of visitors in El Guacharo National Park, Venezuela. for this end, it was necessary to determine and make a comparative analyze concerning to the present situation, the tourism carrying capacity, management capacity, the financial activity and the local community participation. Tourism carrying capacity was calculated using the methodology designed by Cifuentes (1992), in the visit places of El Guácharo National Park (EGNP), considering social, physical, environment, biological and management variables, besides the management capacity as a determinant factor of the effective carrying capacity of the park. The management capacity was calculated using the methodology for evaluation of management effectiveness of protected areas developed by De Faria (1993) adapting it to the objectives objectives of this study. It was determinated that the effective carrying capacity of the park of 42.581 visits per year and the present management capacity is of 60.65 percent from the optimum, which according to the scale used, indicates a satisfactory level. About of the financial analysis, it was found that nowadays, total costs are paid with a superavit of 30.97 percent through the funds from the National Park Management System project. This project is being executed since 1996 until 2000, as a result of the loan convene BIRF-3902-VE between INPARQUES and the World Bank.