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Social assessment for protected areas

Phil Franks, Xiaoxue Weng

Toolkit, 4 pages

This document is part of the ‘Better Evidence in Action’ toolkit.

Researchers use various methods to assess the social impacts of protected areas in Africa and worldwide. Analytical tools can range from simple qualitative methods to experimental designs, and there is often a trade-off between ease of use and scientific rigour of assessment. Some methods can demonstrate benefits for communities, others assess both benefits and costs. This makes comparison across studies and protected areas difficult. Relatively few disaggregate results by key social variables such as gender and wellbeing.

The social assessment for protected areas (SAPA) method aims to tackle these shortcomings. It is an accessible, step-by-step toolkit that managers of protected areas can use to make more informed and equitable decisions regarding their impact on surrounding communities.

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IIED is developing a body of work that seeks to understand how to develop better evidence for sustainable development research and evaluation.

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