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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 : 2014  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 175-189

Inclusion and Exclusion in Participation Strategies in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas, Mexico

1 Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico
2 Facultad de Ciencias and Centro de Investigaciones Interdisciplinarias en Ciencias y Humanidades, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
3 Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, Sede Chiapas, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

Correspondence Address:
Leticia Durand
Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cuernavaca, Morelos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.138420

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Since the 1970s, community participation has become central in biodiversity conservation initiatives, mainly as a strategy for integrating the needs and interests of the populations living in and around protected areas (PAs), and to enhance local social development. Nevertheless, institutionalised participation is usually conceived as a means to attain the goals of conservation initiatives. Although important efforts have been made to construct participatory processes, these are designed and implemented in ways that produce exclusion. In this study, we analyse the exclusion processes produced in the consultation workshops developed to evaluate and update the Conservation and Management Programme (CMP) of the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve (MABR), and in the Reserve's Advisory Council (Consejo Asesor) meetings. Our analysis is based on the observation of two workshops, the revision of workshop reports, interviews with institutional officials, and the participation of one of us in the Advisory Council of the MABR as a councillor. We show that participatory processes for incorporating local population's views and perspectives into decision-making processes still face important challenges. We highlight the importance of acknowledging, and attending to, the processes of exclusion generated by the mechanisms themselves, despite being implemented to include local communities.

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