Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Anthropology and Environment Society
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists
Primary Theme: Environment and Environmental Inequality
A global challenge of our time is how to achieve environmental conservation while developing and sustaining livelihoods in rural communities. Beginning in the 1980s with “integrated conservation and development” projects, approaches have varied by place and local context. Although a fairly extensive international body of work has developed that addresses whether and how conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and rural community development can be linked, dialogue about how to achieve these goals within the conservation, development, and science communities continues. Strategies for promoting sustainable resource-based livelihoods must be appropriate to the specific social and environmental contexts in which they are implemented. Key challenges are finding ways to link development interventions aimed at improving people’s livelihoods with conservation behavior; identifying and implementing effective conservation incentives; determining whether and how to scale up local-level models that are successful; choosing among social and environmental tradeoffs associated with different approaches; and determining appropriate short and long-term roles of external or intermediary organizations (e.g., donors, NGOs) in supporting projects and local initiatives. Literature offering the evidence needed to assess the outcomes of different approaches and guide future interventions has been growing, as have methods for evaluating different approaches. However, models of success to learn from are still needed. This session highlights case examples from around the world that feature new thinking about how to achieve conservation and community benefits; that highlight recent approaches reflecting this new thinking; and that assess the social and environmental evidence for their success. Examples include, but are not limited to, community forestry, ecotourism, community-based wildlife conservation initiatives, and payments for ecosystem services approaches.