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BioSoc: the Biodiversity and Society Bulletin ISSUE 13: MARCH 2007

by Rose Hessmiller last modified Jan 10, 2013 08:03 AM BioSoc is a new monthly email bulletin from the Poverty and Conservation Learning Group (PCLG), hosted by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). BioSoc highlights key new research on biodiversity and society, poverty and conservation and is available in English, Spanish and French.
BioSoc: the Biodiversity and Society Bulletin

Research highlights on biodiversity and society, poverty and conservation

VALUING LOCAL KNOWLEDGE ON BIODIVERSITY-LIVELIHOOD LINKAGES: HOW TO WIN

MORE AND LOSE LESS

A new publication by BirdLife International provides a synthesis of local analyses of biodiversity-livelihoods

linkages in key biodiversity sites in developing countries. The studies were carried out by BirdLife partners

and focused on sites designated by the organisation as ’Important Bird Areas’ or IBAs. BirdLife’s developing

country partners are conservation organisations whose members and the local groups they work with are

poor people. There is therefore a strong motivation to link conservation with poverty reduction at the local

level. Doing this effectively, however, requires a clear understanding of who the poor are and what poverty

means locally.

The studies explore how local people perceive poverty –from lack of money and lack of access to land and

resources, to vulnerability to economic and environmental shocks – and how the IBA’s contribute to

alleviating some of these problems. The studies capture, in local voices, the values of natural resources that

are familiar from the academic and scientific literature – food, medicines, building materials, grazing, safety

nets – and highlight the poorest people’s high level of reliance on environmental goods and services. They

emphasise, however, that poverty means different things to different people in different places.

Understanding the contribution of biodiversity to local livelihoods therefore requires careful attention to local

needs and a better evaluation of the importance of different resources to poor people’s livelihoods. As has

been said many times, there is no blueprint for identifying biodiversity-livelihood links, and there is no

substitute for local knowledge in designing conservation measures that address human needs.

BirdLife has been able to use the findings of its local situation analyses to design interventions that respond

to local peoples’ priorities – supporting agricultural development around Kibira National Park in Burundi to

relieve pressure on the park’s resources; developing high-value, community-based ecotourism in Bolivia;

commercialising non-timber forest product collection in Palas Valley, Pakistan. BirdLife does not suggest that

its approach will always result in win-win solutions for biodiversity and for local livelihoods – indeed such

scenarios are likely to be rare. However understanding local people’s perceptions and values and integrating

these into conservation interventions can, the report suggests, lead to ”win more-lose less” outcomes.

SOURCE

BirdLife International (2006)

Livelihoods and the environment at Important Bird Areas: listening to localBirdLife International, Cambridge, UK

http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2007/01/listening_to_local_voices_IBAs.pdf

Queries for the author should be directed to

david.thomas@birdlife.org

BIOSOC

BioSoc is a new monthly email bulletin from the Poverty and Conservation Learning Group (PCLG), hosted by the

International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). BioSoc highlights key new research on biodiversity and

society, poverty and conservation and is available in English, Spanish and French.

All issues are available online at:

www.povertyandconservation.info

Please let us know about other networks that might be interested in subscribing by emailing us at:

BioSoc@iied.org

POVERTY AND CONSERVATION LEARNING GROUP (PCLG)

The PCLG aims to share key information, highlight new research highlight and promote learning on poverty-conservation

linkages. For more information visit:

www.povertyandconservation.info
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