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Learning from Community Participation in Conservation Area Management

ABSTRACT

Biodiversity conservation and protected area management are dynamic processes that change over time and space. At present, protected area management is moving towards participatory management as a progressive shift in both concept and approach. Nepal’s conservation history can provide a good example of this paradigm shift. However, the agenda-setting process of conservation still continues to be dominated by government and international agencies, keeping the local people aside and undermining their role. Nevertheless, this paper presents a good model of community-based conservation practised in the Annapurna Conservation Area of Nepal. The local knowledge systems and experience of local environment, socio-economy and culture, and technological innovations have been effectively used for sustainable conservation of biodiversity in the area. The experience of the conservation area demonstrates that community-based conservation is a long-term venture that requires more time, integrated effort, democratic spirit and a visible link to local livelihoods.