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Understanding and Resolving Conflict Between Local Communities and Conservation Authorities in Colombia


  • De Pourcq, K.
  • Thomas, E.
  • Arts, B.
  • Vranckx, A.
  • Léon-Sicard, T.
  • Van Damme, P.


Conflicts between indigenous and local communities, on the one hand, and national protected area administrations on the other are pervasive. A better understanding of these park-people conflicts would assist in suitable policy changes to constructively address them while concurrently pursuing conservation and livelihood goals. We interviewed 601 people living inside or along the borders of fifteen Colombian NPAs to identify five main categories of park-people conflicts. Based on interviews with 128 community leaders and 76 institutional-level respondents -mainly park officers- we discuss the five principal factors underlying the identified conflicts and present a conflict framework relating the dominant sources to the most prominent conflict manifestations. Finally, we detail five strategies toward conflict prevention. While simultaneous interventions at multiple levels would be ideal or preferred, our analysis suggests that the incidence of park-people conflicts in Colombia can be substantially lowered through (i) making the environmental legislative body more socially inclusive; and (ii) adequately empowering NPA administrations. We expect our findings to be valuable for managing conflict contexts in protected areas in other tropical countries. Further research is necessary to determine the most effective interventions for both conflict resolution and meeting conservation goals.

Suggested Citation

  • De Pourcq, K. & Thomas, E. & Arts, B. & Vranckx, A. & Léon-Sicard, T. & Van Damme, P., 2017. "Understanding and Resolving Conflict Between Local Communities and Conservation Authorities in Colombia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 125-135.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:93:y:2017:i:c:p:125-135
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.12.026

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Leach, Melissa & Mearns, Robin & Scoones, Ian, 1999. "Environmental Entitlements: Dynamics and Institutions in Community-Based Natural Resource Management," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 225-247, February.
    2. Joe Peters, 1999. "Understanding Conflicts between People and Parks at Ranomafana, Madagascar," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 16(1), pages 65-74, March.
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    2. Estifanos, Tafesse Kefyalew & Polyakov, Maksym & Pandit, Ram & Hailu, Atakelty & Burton, Michael, 2020. "The impact of protected areas on the rural households’ incomes in Ethiopia," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    3. Zorondo-Rodríguez, Francisco & Díaz, Marion & Simonetti-Grez, Gabriela & Simonetti, Javier A., 2019. "Why would new protected areas be accepted or rejected by the public?: Lessons from an ex-ante evaluation of the new Patagonia Park Network in Chile," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C).
    4. Ma, Ben & Cai, Zhen & Zheng, Jie & Wen, Yali, 2019. "Conservation, ecotourism, poverty, and income inequality – A case study of nature reserves in Qinling, China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 236-244.
    5. Wang Bing & K M Safiqul Islam & Md. Miraj Hossen, 2019. "Economic development through the implementation of environment policies:An empirical study from the South-West coastal areas of Bangladesh," International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147-4478), Center for the Strategic Studies in Business and Finance, vol. 8(6), pages 292-300, October.

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