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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 72-82

Exploring the Relationship Between Local Support and the Success of Protected Areas

School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
George Holmes
School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.110940

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The idea that the support of local people is essential for the success of protected areas is widespread in conservation, underpinning various conservation paradigms and policies, yet it has rarely been critically examined. This paper explores the circumstances which determine whether or not local opposition to protected areas can cause them to fail. It focuses on the power relations between protected areas and local communities, and how easily they can influence one another. We present a case study from the Dominican Republic, where despite two decades of resentment with protected policies, local people are unable to significantly challenge them because of fears of violence from guards, inability to reach important political arenas, social ties with guards, and the inability to coordinate action. It concludes by arguing that there are often substantial barriers that prevent local people from challenging unpopular conservation policies, and that local support is not necessarily essential for conservation.

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