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Community conservation: practitioners’ answer to critics

  • Robert H. Horwich and Jonathan Lyon (a1)
Abstract

Based on ethical, theoretical and practical concerns, community-based conservation projects have developed over the past 2 decades as alternatives to traditional protected areas. Recent criticisms of such programmes by biologists and social scientists involve a debate on who should manage our natural resources. Such criticisms have focused on large integrated conservation and development projects (ICDPs) and have largely ignored the successes of small community conservation projects. Practitioners of ICDPs have also been disappointed with the results of their projects and are seeking answers from ICDP failures. Two important differences separate community conservation projects and ICDPs and have led to the success of the smaller projects: (1) community conservation projects see local rural people as the solution to habitat degradation whereas ICDPs see them as the problem, (2) the scale of the smaller projects is at the community level but can use the same methods regionally, whereas ICDPs are large in scale and cost. We discuss, from a practitioner’s viewpoint, the strengths that contribute to the successes of community conservation projects, including actually functioning at the community level, creating an empowered community group to carry on the social sustainability of the project, continuous basic level funding, and the importance of monitoring.

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Corresponding author
*Community Conservation, 50542 One Quiet Lane, Gays Mills, WI 54631, USA. E-mail ccc@mwt.net
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Oryx
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