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Diversity and sustainability in community based conservation

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Paper presented at the UNESCO-IIPA regional workshop on Community-based Conservation, February 9-12, 1997, India.
"Community based conservation" and "peoples' participation" have become part of the conventional rhetoric and more attention is being paid to this approach on the ground by international and national conservation organisations. There are now several examples of projects which involve local communities and seek to use economic incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of wildlife, protected areas, forests, wetlands, grasslands and other biodiversity rich areas. However, the practice of community based conservation remains problematic because of its high dependence on centralised bureaucratic organisations for planning and implementation. This paper identifies some of the reforms needed to encourage and sustain community based conservation in situations where rural people are directly dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods. Emphasis is placed on strengthening diverse local livelihoods through more decentralisation and local control of conservation and natural resource management.

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