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How national context, project design, and local community characteristics influence success in community-based conservation projects

How national context, project design, and local community characteristics influence success in community-based conservation projects

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(52): 21265-21270

Community-based conservation (CBC) promotes the idea that conservation success requires engaging with, and providing benefits for, local communities. However, CBC projects are neither consistently successful nor free of controversy. Innovative recent studies evaluating the factors associated with success and failure typically examine only a single resource domain, have limited geographic scope, consider only one outcome, or ignore the nested nature of socioecological systems. To remedy these issues, we use a global comparative database of CBC projects identified by systematic review to evaluate success in four outcome domains (attitudes, behaviors, ecological, economic) and explore synergies and trade-offs among these outcomes. We test hypotheses about how features of the national context, project design, and local community characteristics affect these measures of success. Using bivariate analyses and multivariate proportional odds logistic regressions within a multilevel analysis and model-fitting framework, we show that project design, particularly capacity-building in local communities, is associated with success across all outcomes. In addition, some characteristics of the local community in which projects are conducted, such as tenure regimes and supportive cultural beliefs and institutions, are important for project success. Surprisingly, there is little evidence that national context systematically influences project outcomes. We also find evidence of synergies between pairs of outcomes, particularly between ecological and economic success. We suggest that well-designed and implemented projects can overcome many of the obstacles imposed by local and national conditions to succeed in multiple domains.

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Accession: 053595239

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23236173

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1207141110

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