Social interactions and resource ownership in two private protected areas of Paraguay
Quintana, J. and Morse, S. (2005) Social interactions and resource ownership in two private protected areas of Paraguay. Journal of Environmental Management, 77 (1). pp. 64-78. ISSN 0301-4797
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2005.02.014
This paper describes the results of field research to dissect how social interactions differ between two reserves in Paraguay having very different styles of governance. The two reserves were Mbaracayu Natural Forest Reserve (Reserva Natural del Bosque de Mbaracayti, RNBM) and San Rafael Managed Resource Reserve (Reserva de Recursos Manejados San Rafael, RRMSR). RNBM is a private reserve owned by a non-governmental organisation. while RRNISR is a publicly-managed reserve, albeit with a substantial degree of private land ownership. Both reserves are intended to protect Atlantic Forest, one of the five world biodiversity 'hotspots', and also one of the most highly threatened. Each reserve and its buffer zone comprises a set of stakeholders, including indigenous communities and farmers, and the paper explores the interactions between these and the management regime. Indeed, while the management regimes of the two reserves are different, one being highly top-down (RNBM) and the other more socially inclusive (RRMSR), the issues that they have to deal with are much the same. However, while both management regimes will readily acknowledge the need to address poverty, inequality appears to be a far more sensitive issue. Whereas this may be expected for the privately-owned RNBM it is perhaps more surprising in RRNISR even when allowing for the fact that much of the land in the latter is in private hands. It is argued that the origins of this sensitivity rest within the broader features of Paraguayan society, and the prevalence of private land ownership. Yet ironically, it is the inequality in land ownership that is perhaps the most significant threat to conservation in both reserves. Therefore, while reserve-level analyses can provide some insight into the driving forces at play in the interaction between conservation and sustainable management, larger scales may be necessary to gain a fuller appreciation of the dynamics operating at site level. Even in a society with a history of centralised control these dynamics may be surprising. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.