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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 411-432

Community Conservation, Inequality and Injustice: Myths of Power in Protected Area Management


School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 4LT, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Dan Brockington
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 4LT
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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The principle of local support states that protected areas cannot survive without the support of their neighbours. It is the dominant motif of much writing about community conservation and the integration of conservation with development. However, we should be sceptical of it for several reasons. First, it implies that the weak can defeat the agendas of the strong. Second, the principle ignores the fact that inequality and injustice tend to be perpetrated about the globe. It is not existence of poverty or injustice that will cause problems for conservation, but their distribution within society. Third, a detailed case study from the Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania shows how conservation can flourish despite local opposition. Advocates of community conservation need to pay more attention to fortress conservation's strengths and especially its powerful myths and repre­sentations. Understanding how inequality and conservation are successfully perpetrated will make it easier to understand the politics of more participatory community conservation projects.


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