Recognizing local people's priorities for tropical forest biodiversity

Douglas Sheil*, Rajindra Puri, Meilinda Wan, Imam Basuki, Miriam Van Heist, Nining Liswanti, Rukmiyati, Ike Rachmatika, Ismayadi Samsoedin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tropical forest people often suffer from the same processes that threaten biodiversity. An improved knowledge of what is important to local people could improve decision making. This article examines the usefulness of explicitly asking what is important to local people. Our examples draw on biodiversity surveys in East Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo). With local communities we characterized locally valued habitats, species, and sites, and their significance. This process clarified various priorities and threats, suggested refinements and limits to management options, and indicated issues requiring specific actions, further investigation, or both. It also shows how biological evaluations are more efficient with local guidance, and reveals potential for collaborations between local communities and those concerned with conservation. Such evaluations are a first step in facilitating the incorporation of local concerns into higher-level decision making. Conservationists who engage with local views can benefit from an expanded constituency, and from new opportunities for pursuing effective conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalAmbio
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

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