We examined how community–government interaction may promote or hinder the conservation of biocultural diversity. Research was done with the extractive community of the Reserva Extrativista Riozinho da Liberdade, located in the state of Acre, Brazil. The reserve is governed by ICMBio, a Brazilian governmental organisation overseeing reserve policy implementation. This paper describes the interaction between ICMBio and the inhabitants of Riozinho da Liberdade. A Practice-Based Approach was used as a theoretical scope to look at the interaction on a practical level. It was found that ICMBio tried to develop the living standards of community members in various ways, for example, by offering suggestions for the improvement of livelihoods, and by proposing alternatives for consumptive behaviour. Although the relationship between ICMBio and the community was generally valued by community members, this did not always equal compliance with ICMBio’s rules, or responsiveness to ICBMIO’s suggestions for development. Our results show that although compliance was often suboptimal from a government perspective, biocultural diversity may still be reproduced through close interaction between community and government, and thus conserved. As such, our investigation provides counterweight to the abundant empirical evidence on the harmful social consequences of government interference in local nature governance. A main methodological insight of our work is that a Practice-Based Approach enabled us to detect (non-)compliant behaviour that would have otherwise likely gone unnoticed.
- Community-based conservation
- Human development
- Local communities
- Reserva Extrativista Riozinho da Liberdade