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Balancing social equity and biodiversity outcomes in protected area management.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EquiPE (Balancing social equity and biodiversity outcomes in protected area management.)

Período documentado: 2017-01-10 hasta 2019-01-09

Both the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2010-2020 and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognize the important role of protected areas as a key strategy for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in the targets they contain. It is then from these broader international agreements that flow national level commitments to more effective and equitable conservation through legislation and institutional plans and protocols. The widely accepted framework now in use to define equity in relation to conservation derives strongly from the literature and theory of environmental justice, highlighting three interrelated dimensions: distribution, procedure and recognition. In this project, we: 1) analysed how and to what extent different aspects of equity are explicitly or implicitly included in legislation and policies that define how protected areas are governed in Brazil; and 2) carried out semi-structured interviews with key informants in relation to four protected areas in the northern Brazilian Amazon to understand: (i) what equitable conservation look like to different actors, (ii) the extent to which current governance and management is equitable, and (iii) the possible pathways to a more equitable future.
Research results
Within my activities in Equipe, I broke the problem down into two key aspects:
a. What are the normative aspects of equity in protected area management and governance?
Here, I analysed how and to what extent different aspects of equity are explicitly or implicitly included in legislation and policies that define how protected areas are governed in Brazil using a thematic analysis. Our results provide an overview of equity in the normative aspects of the governance of different types of protected area in Brazil, specify the key aspects that must be implemented in practice to advance equitable governance and management, and highlight where there are gaps in the treatment of equity in legislation, policies, and protocols across protected area types.
b. What does equity in protected areas look like in practice?
Here, I carried out 55 semi-structured interviews with key informants in relation to four protected areas in the northern Brazilian Amazon, chosen because of key differences in their management and governance. Participants were selected via a snowball sampling approach, and interviews were carried out around three key questions / topics:
1) What does equitable conservation look like to different actors, and how do these aspirations fit with theoretical definitions?
2) To what extent is current governance and management equitable? and
3) What are the possible pathways to a more equitable future?


Career development
As planned, my training in advanced concepts of applied social sciences took two main forms: I participated in formal training courses offered by the Social Research Association (SRA), covering designing a qualitative study, interviewing, ethnographic methods, qualitative data analysis, and interpreting and writing up qualitative results; and I learned “on the job” from more experienced colleagues. This included visits to CEH Edinburgh to work with Dr Juliette Young, and collaborating with Dr Neil Dawson on a British Council funded research project also exploring social equity in just one protected area in Brazil, Catimbau National Park. In working with these colleagues, I was able to gain powerful insights into the application of the methodologies I had learned in theory, drawing on their extensive experience in the field. These experiences were transformative for my career development, and were entirely made possible by the opportunities arising from the funding provided to me by the Horizon 2020 program, which placed me in the research team at the University of Aberdeen. Over the past two years I have also had the opportunity to further strengthen my teaching and supervisory skills by: 1) co-supervising two PhD students (Ms Vivianne Eilers, University of Aberdeen, and Mr Bayron Callé-Rendón, Federal University of Amapá, Brazil), and one master’s student (Holly Williams, Imperial College London); and 2) contributing to undergraduate and post-graduate teaching in both Aberdeen and Brazil.

Dissemination and outreach
Beyond the dissemination via publications that will result from the research results outlined above, I have also published two papers, together with colleagues from six local institutions, concerning a key equity issue in the Brazilian Amazon - the expansion of large-scale mechanised agriculture and it’s impacts on sustainable development. Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to discuss key findings of my research in informal seminars given to my colleagues at the University of Aberdeen in each year of the fellowship. These seminars were not only a chance to disseminate my research to my colleagues, but also a chance to get wide and varied feedback on my on-going research. In November 2018, I was invited by the head of department to present my research at the School of Biological Sciences Research Day. This event is intended to showcase the diversity of research taking place in the school. In July 2018, I also presented my research at the Federal University of Amap
In terms of research, studies that have applied social equity frameworks to protected areas remain relatively scarce. Studies examining local perceptions of equity, as opposed to applying broader metrics, are particularly needed, especially in Latin America. As such, the results found throughout this study represent a timely, novel and important contribution to thinking on both how we can evaluate social equity in this context, and also how a more equitable future might be reached. The policy analysis carried out in the first part of this project is, to the best of our knowledge, the first of its kind in the world, and as such has the potential to be a high impact contribution to the literature. However, beyond the importance for research, I have also already begun to translate my research in to practice, working closely with local practitioners at ICMBio and Iepé to reflect on the current challenges for equitable protected area management in Brazil, and to identify the opportunities for advancing equity in the future. This is just the beginning of a collaboration that I expect to be productive and long-lasting, where research and practical experience can work together to find better and more just ways of making conservation happen inside protected areas in Brazil and beyond. The next key stage will be to scale these collaborations up to national level policy-makers. I hope that, eventually, my research will provide regional managers with a framework to design and analyse equity in, and outcomes from, conservation measures undertaken.
Dirt road crossing the Rio do Cajari Extractive Reserve
Arriving by boat at the Amapá National Forest
Cunani quilombola community, inside the Cabo Orange National Park
Ranking equity metrics during an interview in the Rio do Cajari Extractive Reserve
Ranking equity metrics during an interview in the Amapá National Forest
Ranking equity metrics during an interview in the Cabo Orange National Park
Ranking equity metrics during an interview in the Maracá-Jipioca Ecological Station