This volume fills an important gap in the national parks literature by providing a unique comparative exploration of global parks preservation. Written by a group of distinguished contributors--each an expert in his or her area of coverage--the handbook describes and evaluates the national parks and nature preserves in 25 nations and one regional cluster. The nations selected range from some of the wealthiest and most technologically sophisticated in the world to some of the least developed, and they represent the regional diversity to be found within each of six continents--Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America--as well as a number of Pacific island nations. Each chapter is written to a common outline and addresses the history of park preservation in that country, the natural values associated with parks and preserves, and the legal and administrative structures charged with park protection. The editor's introduction sets the stage for the chapters that follow by discussing the national park concept and its historical implementation first in individual nations and later by means of international agreements and institutions. Of the 27 chapters that follow, 24 deal comprehensively with the parks and reserves of a single nation and one treats the nine nations of French-speaking west Africa. Two chapters address the diverse systems of nature preservation which have been established in the United States. One focuses on the traditional national parks while the other examines the recently established wilderness areas. Within each chapter a section on history describes the major events associated with park preservation. A section on the parks and reserves themselvesdescribes the geological, historical, archaeological, biological, ecological, aesthetic, or recreational values designated for protection. A third section evaluates the agencies charged with park protection and the pressures and constraints under which they operate. Each chapter also includes notes and a select bibliography. An important acquisition for library collections dealing with conservation, this handbook will also be an invaluable reference source for scholars and researchers in the field. Numerous tables and figures enhance the text.