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Conservation's Visions: Poverty, Participation, and Protected Area Management in Nepal's Terai

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Agrawal, Arun; Varughese, George
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/1106
Sector: Social Organization
General & Multiple Resources
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
conservation
protected areas
participatory management
local participatory management
poverty
households
Workshop
Abstract: "Since the 1980s, the landscape of resource use and management has undergone a revolution. The chief characteristic of this shift is a focus on the participation of local populations in the management of resources. The transformation, which can be characterized as 'Exclusion to Participation,' is especially striking when protected areas are considered. This paper examines the effects of the ongoing shift in management strategies by analyzing what is happening in two protected areas in Nepal's Terai. It does so by focusing on two important assumptions that underlie recent efforts to involve local communities in conservation. The first is about participation by local peoples and the impact of their participation their willingness to protect resources. The second is about the relationship between poverty and environmental degradation. Using household survey data collected over four months, the paper suggests that participation is insufficient to lead local residents toward effective conservation. The data also indicate that the assumption of poverty leading to greater environmental degradation may be flawed. Therefore, policy efforts that hope to enable conservation by increasing incomes and assets need to be rethought and more finely tuned to the particular type of assets that local peoples create."

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