The number of protected areas has risen in recent years to over 110,000 covering over 20 million square kilometres, over 12% per cent of the planet's surface. How has this growth been achieved and why was so much of it undertaken in the last 15 years? What is the relationship between the massive rise in conservation initiatives, our economic system and corporate interests? What are the implications for the millions of people who live in or depend on protected areas? This groundbreaking volume is the first comprehensive examination of the rise of protected areas and their current social and economic position in our world. It examines the social impacts of protected areas, the conflicts that surround them, the alternatives to them and the conceptual categories they impose.
The book explores key debates on devolution, participation and democracy; the role and uniqueness of indigenous peoples and other local communities; institutions and resource management; hegemony, myth and symbolic power in conservation success stories; tourism, poverty and conservation; and the transformation of social and material relations which community conservation entails.
For conservation practitioners and protected area professionals not accustomed to criticisms of their work, or students new to this complex field, the book will provide an understanding of the history and current state of affairs in the rise of protected areas; introduce the concepts, theories and writers on which critiques of conservation have been built and provide the means by which practitioners can understand problems with which they are wrestling. For advanced researchers the book will present a critique of the current debates on protected areas and provide a host of jumping off points for an array of research avenues.