Ecological and Social Monitoring of Protected Areas in an Era of Globalization

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"Conservation strategies based on the designation of Protected Areas (PAs) are increasing in popularity worldwide, however the concept of PAs is also encountering growing criticism over an apparent lack of consideration for or awareness of local people and their interactions with the natural environment. Criticism of traditional PA establishment and management has led to attempts at more 'people centered' conservation approaches, such as Integrated Conservation and Development Programs that incorporate local people into conservation policy and management and link PA conservation programs to local economic and social initiatives. "Recently these people centered approaches have come under an attack of their own by critics who believe that these programs have either not worked (the goal being the preservation of biodiversity) or their reported successes have not been supported by data from ecological monitoring. This paper argues that in order to more effectively and realistically analyze policies and management projects involving local people and PAs, there is a need not only for sound ecological monitoring but also for social monitoring which provides data on the social consequences and changes connected to specific conservation strategies and PAs. Rigorous monitoring programs involving multiple techniques of data collection (from ecological field work to household surveys to in-depth interviews to remote sensing) will provide the type of comprehensive data necessary to analyze trends in and around PAs resulting from human and ecological change at the local, regional, and global level. "Two case studies the Colorado Plateau's San Rafael Swell in the USA, and the southeastern slope of Tanzania's Mount KilimanjaroBare utilized to demonstrate both the need for a broader range of data in analyzing the integration of local people into PA conservation and how multiple techniques provide data useful for understanding both ecological and social events and their association with specific outcomes in conservation strategies and PAs. These research strategies improve understanding not only at the local level but also at national and international levels. By using multiple research techniques for ecological and social monitoring, the way in which local-level issues are linked to globalization and other macro forces can be understood within a fuller context and broader conception of the conservation situation."



IASC, common pool resources--comparative analysis, protected areas, conservation--policy, participatory management--case studies, research--methodology, globalization