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The role of Community Based Conservation Projects in maintaining

David (admin), 12 Apr 2009 10:09 am

This is an extract from my postgrad research on the topic. For more, email me at dbry012@aucklanduni.ac.nz. Community based conservation initiatives have received mixed coverage in academic fields with regards to their ability to maintain biodiversity resources in the long term by linking the social welfare of communities with conservation. Proponents of people-free parks argue that communities are multiscalar and environmental responsibility cannot be effectively devolved to the community level as a result. They maintain that local communities may lack credibility or capacity to achieve biodiversity maintenance objectives, and that an emphasis on financial development may result in a de-emphasis on conservation objectives. While these may seem like valid concerns, especially in light of the lack of visible benefits for biodiversity conservation in the last 20 years of implementation particularly in Africa, supporters of CBC argue that failed initiatives do not indicate a problem with the CBC model per se, but rather the social and political systems in which it is imbedded. CBC stems from the inability of Western protectionist models such as the ‘Yellowstone model’ to adequately conserve global biodiversity, particularly in developing nations which are typically extremely biodiverse, as these initiatives do not include provisions that allow local people to accrue cash incomes. The ‘fences and fines’ approach is largely inadequate maintaining biodiversity because formally protected areas are too small and spatially biased, and the no-take approach fails to achieve community buy-in, unlike CBC initiatives, as illustrated by South American examples. To be successful in maintaining biodiversity resources though, a deeper and more complete understanding of biodiversity conservation approaches as social and political approaches and greater capacity building within networks of partnerships that include a range of stakeholders over various scales is necessary. There is an increasing appreciation that many environmental problems are too complex to be properly understood or managed under a conventional management structure, and as such, the effective management of global biological diversity has little alternative but to implement CBC.

This post was edited on 2 Jun 2009 03:05 pm

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