Ecology and Society Ecology and Society
E&S Home > Vol. 20, Iss. 3 > Art. 33 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Meanings, drivers, and motivations for community-based conservation in Latin America

Isabel Ruiz-Mallén, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Christoph Schunko, Department of Sustainable Agricultural Systems, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)
Esteve Corbera, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; Department of Economics and Economic History, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Matthias Rös, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional (CIIDIR), Unidad Oaxaca, Instituto Politécnico Nacional; Instituto de Ecología A.C.
Victoria Reyes-García, Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA); Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


Full Text: HTML   
Download Citation


Indigenous and rural communities have developed strategies aimed at supporting their livelihoods and protecting biodiversity. Motivational factors underlying these local conservation strategies, however, are still a largely neglected topic. We aimed to enrich the conceptualization of community-based conservation by exploring trigger events and motivations that induce local people to be engaged in practical institutional arrangements for successful natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. By examining the history and development of three community conservation initiatives in Brazil, Mexico, and Bolivia, we have illustrated and discussed two main ways of understanding community-based conservation from the interaction between extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. First, incentive-based conservation policies can stimulate people’s economic interests and mobilize individual and collective behavior toward the formalization of conservation-oriented actions. Second, environmental justice concerns, such as international and national movements for the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, can support local people’s sense of autonomy and result in increased control over their territory and resources, as well as a renewed conservation commitment. The results are useful from a policy perspective because they provide insight into the governance of conservation development by bridging the gap between communities’ culturally based motivations for conservation, which are still embedded in customary institutions, and broader political and socioeconomic contexts.

Key words

biodiversity; commons; governance; Latin America; protected areas

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087