MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region
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IUCN Publication
Local communities and protected areas
The international journal for protected area managers - Vol 12 No 2
Tuesday 2 December 2003, by Web Team

The relationship between communities and protected areas is a marriage of heaven and hell. The concept of "protected area" is most often associated with the government-established parks that came into being only relatively recently. Seldom does one think of sacred community areas that date back centuries and keep harbouring unique biodiversity resources.

Even more rarely does one consider the vast conservation contribution of indigenous productive landscapes or communallymanaged natural resources. In all, community conservation is hardly ever acknowledged, and local people are too often erroneously perceived as the enemy of nature. This interview - a "conversation at a distance" - illustrates the opportunities and obstacles involved in forging a new alliance between communities and conservation. The debate covers practical initiatives and statements of inalienable rights, emerging concepts and their political consequences, the legitimacy/legality dichotomy and the increasing number of social actors involved in protected area management. A new taxonomic dimension for protected areas-governance type-is illustrated in view of the debate at the World Parks Congress of September 2003. Everyone seems convinced that time is ripe for it, and everyone seems to agree that "cultural and biological diversity are natural, powerful allies" and that "only their alliance may eventually succeed in saving both."

Source : IUCN Website

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