Social assessment of conservation initiatives: A review of rapid methodologies
Areas of land and sea are increasingly being marked out for protection in response to various demands: to tackle biodiversity loss, to prevent deforestation as a climate change mitigation strategy, and to restore declining fisheries. Amongst those promoting biodiversity conservation, the impacts of protected areas on resident or neighbouring communities have generated much debate, and this debate is raging further as new protection schemes emerge, such as REDD.
Despite widely voiced concerns about some of the negative implications of protected areas, and growing pressures to ensure that they fulfil social as well as ecological objectives, no standard methods exist to assess social impacts. This report aims to provide some.
Some 30 tools and methods for assessing social impacts in protected areas and elsewhere are reviewed in this report, with a view to understanding how different researchers have tackled the various challenges associated with impact assessment. This experience is used to inform a framework for a standardised process that can guide the design of locally appropriate assessment methodologies. Such a standard process would facilitate robust, objective comparisons between sites as well as assisting in the task of addressing genuine concerns and enhancing potential benefits.