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Community Conservation

Updated on June 23, 2014

A study of community conservation: A collection of relevant sites and articles

Community conservation is a movement that is increasing in attention and importance. From African farmers learning to manage their resources sustainably, to local no-take reserves in the Pacific islands; community groups in Ireland to clean up the rivers and New Zealand for pest control to save the local birds, to the little nature reserves and ponds that spring up across the breadth of the UK, communities everywhere can be involved and are involved in conservation. Some target just one species - save the kiwi, report turtle sightings, don't buy palm oil. Others try and rebuild entire local ecosystems. Some are token efforts, and others actually represent losses to the local economy.

Benefits range from emotional, to having a local park, to financial from tourism or improved farming practices, healthwise, from cleaner rivers, to actually significantly assisting endangered species. Funding is a constant issue, as is how much government involvement and control is needed or wanted. For one of my postgraduate papers in Environmental Management I am looking at the topic of community conservation. I am compiling the relevant and interesting sites and papers on this topic here.

The lake photographed above is located in the Far North District of New Zealand, and was extremely polluted by runoff from surrounding farms. Through local efforts (mostly from the local iwi and co-operation from farmers) the lake is now almost completely clean.

Save the Tiger
Save the Tiger

Who's in Charge? - Government versus Local Community

Who is responsible for preserving and restoring local biodiversity and habitat? Who should pay? Who should decide?

While Government decrees are usually met with hostility, local efforts may be fragmentary or nonexistent, or struggle due to lack of knowledge or funding.

Who should be protecting the environment around your house?

Species protection or community?

Targeting a single species is more emotionally effective, easier to involve people and see results. It can also have spin-off benefits - interesting people, protecting the entire forest to save the orangutans...

However, each species is dependent on an entire ecology, and the environment around it is just as important if less glamorous. But people can balk at 'locking up' half the coastline where they approve of simply not killing seals.

So, risk of not mobilizing versus risk of insufficient protection?

Should campaigns promote a single endangered species?

External Support and Finance - Trusts, Government Funding, Grants, Donations

Examples of various types of funding. Usually under recreation and conservation.

Results of small local community groups and improved local awareness

  1. Ecological benefits
  2. Social and economic benefits (community pride, activity, health, tourism, etc)
  3. Indirect/attitude benefits>i.e. increased acceptance of greater protection
  4. Other?

Approaches towards community conservation - Hobby/interest v.s. natural resource management and survival

Forest Conservation

Wetland & Coastal

Marine Habitat Conservation

Agro Bio-diversity Conservation

Culturally Conserved Areas

Species Protection

  • For specific species e.g. turtles, red squirrels, tigers
  • For general practice e.g. farming, water quality
  • For community involvement on small scales e.g. nature areas, rivers, local reserves


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