With the inclusion of equity concerns in Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ”equitable management” has become an important objective for the world’s protected areas. The way equity is defined and operationalized influences whether this strategic shift can help identify pathways commensurate with conservation effectiveness.
A new study published in Conservation Letters suggests how equity concerns can be successfully dealt with. The study examined equity around a protected area in Laos. It combined quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the three dimensions of procedure, recognition, and distribution. Local understandings of equity depended on discrete, evolving issues, with attention to informal decision making and dynamic values required to uncover suitable solutions.
The study found that equity definitions focused on material distribution and assessments reliant on standardized indicators may result in inadequate responses that sustain local perceptions of inequitable management and miss opportunities for effective conservation. Equity should be considered a management goal to continually adapt toward, informed by stakeholder dialogue.
The study was led by Neil Dawson of University of East Anglia and co-authored by NORDECO staff. It was supported by the UK Government through the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) research programme. A pdf of the paper is available here.
Dawson, N., A. Martin, F. Danielsen. 2017. Assessing Equity in Protected Area Governance: Approaches to Promote Just and Effective Conservation. Conservation Letters. DOI: 10.1111/conl.12388.