Challenge Of Balancing Protected Areas And Human Interests
This article from Conservation Biology examines the social impacts of conservation and poverty, including “reconciliation ecology,” the balancing of the interests in preserving protected areas versus the interests of humans living in these areas.
Protected areas cover only 6% of the land surface of the planet, and research indicates that the the issue is recognized as important. However, conservation-induced displacement is not addressed appropriately. Many protected areas have yet to be cleared of humans, and reports suggest that 50-100% of strictly protected areas in South America and Asia are still illegally occupied by people. One of conservation’s key challenges is how to deal with this displacement.
Conservationists should also be wary of focusing exclusively on indigenous people as the rights of non-indigenous people are arguably equally important. There is also a need to understand the ecology of coexistence, also referred to as “reconciliation ecology.”
In the long term, the social impacts of conservation and land preservation must be carefully researched and addressed. The largest challenge facing conservationists today is to determine how to best shape human interactions with nature to protect the interests of both.