We are currently facing a mass extinction of plants and animals. To remedy this, world leaders have pledged a huge expansion of protected areas ahead of the UN biodiversity summits to be held in October 2021 and May 2022 in Kunming, China.
The focus on how much of the planet to conserve overshadows questions of how nature should be conserved and by whom. In the past some conservation organisations have seen indigenous and local communities as undermining environmental conservation.
Our research strongly contradicts this. Our recent publication in Ecology and Society shows the best way to protect both nature and human wellbeing is for indigenous and local communities to be in control. That conclusion stems from examining examples of conservation projects carried out since 2000 and their results. Our international team of 17 scientists studied the effects on habitats and species and local communities. […]