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Abstract

Increased conservation action to protect more habitat and species is fueling a vigorous debate about the relative effectiveness of different sorts of protected areas. Here we review the literature that compares the effectiveness of protected areas managed by states and areas managed by Indigenous peoples and/or local communities. We argue that these can be hard comparisons to make. Robust comparative case studies are rare, and the epistemic communities producing them are fractured by language, discipline, and geography. Furthermore the distinction between these different forms of protection on the ground can be blurred. We also have to be careful about the value of this sort of comparison as the consequences of different forms of conservation for people and nonhuman nature are messy and diverse. Measures of effectiveness, moreover, focus on specific dimensions of conservation performance, which can omit other important dimensions. With these caveats, we report on findings observed by multiple study groups focusing on different regions and issues whose reports have been compiled into this article. There is a tendency in the data for community-based or co-managed governance arrangements to produce beneficial outcomes for people and nature. These arrangements are often accompanied by struggles between rural groups and powerful states. Findings are highly context specific and global generalizations have limited value.

Keyword(s): conservationgovernance
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2023-11-13
2024-04-25
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