Assessing equity in protected area governance: Approaches to promote just and effective conservation

Neil Dawson, Adrian Martin, Finn Danielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)
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With the inclusion of equity concerns in Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, equitable management has become an important objective for the world's protected areas. The way equity is defined and operationalised influences whether this strategic shift can help identify pathways commensurate with conservation effectiveness. We examined equity around a protected area in Laos, combining quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the three dimensions of procedure, recognition and distribution. Local understandings of equity depended on discrete, evolving issues, with attention to informal decision making and dynamic values required to uncover suitable solutions. We show that equity definitions focused on material distribution and assessments reliant on standardised indicators may result in inadequate responses that sustain local perceptions of inequitable management and miss opportunities for effective conservation. Equity should be considered a management goal to continually adapt towards, informed by stakeholder dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12388
JournalConservation Letters
Issue number2
Early online date5 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Aichi target
  • convention on biological diversity
  • ecosystem service
  • environmental justice
  • environmental management
  • Lao PDR
  • natural resource

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