Stakeholder engagement and biodiversity conservation challenges in social-ecological systems: Some insights from biosphere reserves in western Africa and France
Number of pages
SourceEcology and Society, 21, 4, (2016), article 25
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Ecology and Society
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
Biosphere reserves are an example of social-ecological systems that combine biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic development with knowledge generation and dissemination (both scientific and local). We review lessons learned from case studies biosphere reserves in western African and France, highlighting the importance of early stakeholder engagement to build knowledge for achieving sustainable development. We discuss the evolution of the concept of biosphere reserves and its application over time in different socioeconomic and cultural settings. The diversity of stakeholders and their different needs and perceptions about nature conservation complicate implementation processes, sometimes resulting in conflicts about the objectives and zonation of biosphere reserves. Dialogue among the different stakeholders must start at an early planning phase and be based on the principle of social and ecological solidarity. Dialogue must then be pursued, formalized, ritualized, and translated both in terms of biosphere reserve management and in terms of political support. Tools and methods exist that can facilitate such dialogue and colearning.
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