Conflict in Protected Areas: Who Says Co-Management Does Not Work?

Kobe De Pourcq, Evert Thomas, B.J.M. Arts, Tomas Léon-Sicard, Patrick Van Damme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Natural resource-related conflicts can be extremely destructive and undermine environmental protection. Since the 1990s co-management schemes, whereby the management of resources is shared by public and/or private sector stakeholders, have been a main strategy for reducing these conflicts worldwide. Despite initial high hopes, in recent years co-management has been perceived as falling short of expectations. However, systematic assessments of its role in conflict prevention or mitigation are non-existent. Interviews with 584
residents from ten protected areas in Colombia revealed that co-management can be successful in reducing conflict at grassroots level, as long as some critical enabling conditions, such as effective participation in the co-management process, are fulfilled not only on paper but also by praxis. We hope these findings will re-incentivize global efforts to make co-management work in protected areas and other common pool resource contexts, such as fisheries,
agriculture, forestry and water management.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0144943
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2015

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