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Science, Conservation, and National Parks$
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Steven R. Beissinger, David D. Ackerly, Holly Doremus, and Gary E. Machlis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226422954

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226423142.001.0001

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The Tangled Web of People, Landscapes, and Protected Areas

The Tangled Web of People, Landscapes, and Protected Areas

(p.227) Eleven The Tangled Web of People, Landscapes, and Protected Areas
Science, Conservation, and National Parks

Ruth Defries

University of Chicago Press

Protected areas currently comprise a substantial land use and cover 14% of the Earth’s land surface. Their expansion in recent decades, combined with increasing economic growth and aspirations in high biodiversity areas, has brought the relevance of socio-ecological systems (also known as coupled human-natural systems) to the fore for conservation. Socio-ecological processes operate at multiple scales: within protected areas, for example resource use by people living inside protected areas; surrounding protected areas, for example poverty alleviation for communities on the fringes; and larger landscapes, for example conflicts between infrastructure expansion and corridors for animal movement between networks of protected areas. National-and global-scale processes such as climate change, shifting priorities of international donors, and market forces that lead to land use change influence outcomes for conservation and people at all of these scales. Protected area management faces several mismatches in addressing these socio-ecological dimensions: conflicting objectives for conservation and development; ecological and social processes that operate at larger spatial scales than protected areas; and governance of land use in the larger landscape in which protected area managers have no authority. The next step in the historical evolution of protected area management is incorporating socio-ecological dynamics and addressing these mismatches.

Keywords:   conservation, coupled human-natural systems, development, protected area management, socio-ecological systems, protected area management

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