Rethinking entrenched narratives about protected areas and human wellbeing in the Global South

Woodhouse, Emily, Bedelian, Claire, Barnes, Paul, Cruz-Garcia, Gisella S., Dawson, Neil, Gross-Camp, Nicole, Homewood, Katherine, Jones, Julia P. G., Martin, Adrian ORCID:, Morgera, Elisa and Schreckenberg, Kate (2022) Rethinking entrenched narratives about protected areas and human wellbeing in the Global South. UCL Open: Environment, 4. ISSN 2632-0886

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Attempts to link human development and biodiversity conservation goals remain a constant feature of policy and practice related to protected areas (PAs). Underlying these approaches are narratives that simplify assumptions, shaping how interventions are designed and implemented. We examine evidence for five key narratives: 1) conservation is pro-poor; 2) poverty reduction benefits conservation; 3) compensation neutralises costs of conservation; 4) local participation is good for conservation; 5) secure tenure rights for local communities support effective conservation. Through a mixed-method synthesis combining a review of 100 peer-reviewed papers and 25 expert interviews, we examined if and how each narrative is supported or countered by the evidence. The first three narratives are particularly problematic. PAs can reduce material poverty, but exclusion brings substantial local costs to wellbeing, often felt by the poorest. Poverty reduction will not inevitably deliver on conservation goals and trade-offs are common. Compensation (for damage due to human wildlife conflict, or for opportunity costs), is rarely sufficient or commensurate with costs to wellbeing and experienced injustices. There is more support for narratives 4 and 5 on participation and secure tenure rights, highlighting the importance of redistributing power towards Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in successful conservation. In light of the proposed expansion of PAs under the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, we outline implications of our review for the enhancement and implementation of global targets in order to proactively integrate social equity into conservation and the accountability of conservation actors.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 1 - no poverty ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/no_poverty
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of International Development
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Area Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Global Environmental Justice
University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2022 17:35
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2023 10:31
DOI: 10.14324/111.444/ucloe.000050

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