The Science & Management of Protected Areas Association was founded in 1989 by a group of scientists and managers in Atlantic Canada. These founders agreed there was a need to improve the quality and use of science in protected areas management. They recognized that there is often a communication gap between scientific researchers and managers (those responsible for park operation and management). SAMPAA was formed to bridge this divide by facilitating communication and encouraging more effective application of science to the management of protected areas - the ultimate purpose of which is to maximize managers' effectiveness at conserving natural environments.
To increase communication and the exchange of knowledge, the founders decided that SAMPAA would hold international conferences attracting a variety of leading researchers, managers, policy advisors and non-governmental organizations. In May 1991 the first SAMPAA Conference was held at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The conference attracted 200 participants and produced a hard cover proceedings. Discussions after the first conference confirmed that such events were a major niche that SAMPAA could fill. Conferences have been held regularly ever since.
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