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A review of research into the relationships between protected areas and human well being

Dan Brockington
George Holmes


Recent writings and research on the relationship between human well being and protected areas is steadily building up a body of literature reviews, meta?analyses, evaluations, case studies and designed comparisons. In this paper we parse the literature, exploring all these forms. There is growing acceptance of the importance of this issue within the conservation community and a number of new developments and findings to report, particularly when we include insights from indigenous and community conserved areas. There remain, however, persistent difficulties. Some of these pertain to the quality of the research and the lack of systematic data. It can be difficult to extrapolate from single studies, no matter how good. Some comparative studies have been afflicted by weak data. Some of the problems arise because of attempts to systematize and produce a coherent body of knowledge. A prevailing issue is the problematic conceptualization of protected areas and the way they affect people. Protected areas need to be understood within their broader political contexts as part of larger political and economic regimes. Their effects tend to be localized, but what matters here is their distribution within and between different neighbouring and resident communities.

Publication Type(s)

Conference Paper

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