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Involving locals in bio-conservation

May 04, 2009

Conservation in Protected Areas: Do Local People Benefit? is a policy brief published by National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. It suggests practical ways to address biodiversity conservation priorities as well as the livelihood needs of local inhabitants.

Conservation in Protected Areas: Do Local People Benefit?

Authors: Tobias Haller and Marc Galvin

Publisher: National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North - South, February 2009

The management of protected areas often includes local people in theory but not in practice. While “participatory conservation” is widely recognised as a model that enhances efforts to improve the richness in species and ecosystems, it is in many cases not applied in a way that benefits both the people and the environment.

This policy brief examines the difficulties in taking communities in protected areas seriously into account. It also suggests practical ways of improving the relationship between the needs and interests of surrounding communities and the efforts to maintain biological diversity.

Drawing on case studies from across Africa, Asia and Latin America, the authors argue that incentives at both the household and community levels are essential for sustainable development, saying that if local people see an economic or political benefit from conserving protected areas, they are more likely to support management projects.

For example, the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area Project in Nepal supports alternatives to natural resource dependent livelihoods for the local population to minimise negative impacts on biodiversity. The employment of local personnel, gender-focused and partnership development approaches, and management by competent Nepali professionals are factors that have contributed to its success.

The policy brief calls for giving local stakeholders a strong institutional framework for addressing the needs of communities, collaborating with them from the outset in establishing protected areas, and empowering them to manage protected areas themselves.

Source : SciDev.Net
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