Community-based conservation

Community-based conservation is a conservation movement that emerged in the 1980s through escalating protests and subsequent dialogue with local communities affected by international attempts to protect the biodiversity of the earth. Older conservation movements disregarded the interests of local inhabitants.[1] This stems from the Western idea on which the conservation movement was founded, of nature being separate from culture. The object of community-based conservation is to incorporate improvement to the lives of local people while conserving areas through the creation of national parks or wildlife refuges.[2] While there have been some notable successes, unfortunately community-based conservation has often been ineffective because of inadequate resources, uneven implementation, and over-wishful planning. Some critics have also complained about often unintended neocolonialist undertones involved in the particular conservation projects.


The first protected areas around the world such as Yosemite in 1864 and Yellowstone National Park in 1872 were founded by the colonial or classical conservation method.[3] Classical conservation created protected areas to protect wilderness and wildlife areas of pristine wilderness that was untouched and uninhabited by humans. All people inhabiting these areas were removed from the land and displaced onto marginal land surrounding or near by the newly protected land. It is estimated that 20 million people were displaced from their land.[4] This conservation strategy was used widely until the 1970s when indigenous people started to fight for their rights and land. In 1975 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Parks Congress recognized the rights of indigenous people and to recognize their rights of the protected areas.[5] More policy changes came about that increased the rights of indigenous people. Community-based conservation came into action from these changes.


One strategy of community-based conservation is co-management or joint management of a protected area. Co-management combines local peoples’ traditional knowledge of the environment with modern scientific knowledge of scientists.[6][7] This combination of knowledge can lead to increased biodiversity and better management of the protected area.

See also


  1. Brockington, D. (2002) Fortress Conservation: The Preservation of the Mkomazi Game Reserve, Tanzania. International African Institute, Oxford( ISBN 0-253-34079-9)
  2. Gezon, Lisa. (1997) Institutional structure and the effectiveness of integrated conservation and development projects: case study from Madagascar, Human Organization 56(4), pp. 462–470 (ISSN 0093-2930)
  3. Cholchester, M. (2004) Conservation Policy and Indigenous Peoples. Environmental Science & Policy 7(3), pp.145-153
  4. Veit, P. G., Benson, C. (2004) When Parks and People Collide. Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. 16 Oct. 2009
  5. Cholchester, M. (2004) Conservation Policy and Indigenous Peoples. Environmental Science & Policy 7(3), pp.145-153
  6. WPC Recommendation 25 Co-management of Protected Areas, World Parks Congress (2003)
  7. Child, B.;Jones, B. (2006), Practical tools for community conservation in southern Africa, Participatory Learning and Action 55 (ISSN 1357-938X)
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