Applying Asset Mapping to Protected Area Planning and Management in the Cordillera Azul National Park, Peru

del Campo, Hilary
Wali, Alaka
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
Participatory conservation efforts are now common throughout regions of high biodiversity in the developing world. Standard approaches to participatory conservation begin with need-based assessments that identify human-induced ecological threats and livelihood deficiencies, but this focus on “threats” and “needs” tends to reinforce perceptions of rural people as predatory, poor and dependent. We examine the theoretical, conceptual, and methodological application of an alternative, “assets-based” approach to participatory conservation and the co-management of natural resources in areas of high cultural and biological diversity. As a case study, we report on the implementation of an asset-mapping activity applied in the buffer zone of the Cordillera Azul National Park in north-central Peru. Data were collected by community facilitators in 53 communities within the park’s buffer zone. These data encompass local knowledge systems, community visions for the future, and innovative livelihood strategies compatible with conservation goals. By focusing on these social assets, this approach demonstrates the ways in which positive, pre-existing cultural characteristics may be used to plan and guide the management of a protected area. We describe how this approach has helped to empower local communities and to improve dialogue and transparency between disparate stakeholders. We also include a discussion of the challenges and limitations of this asset-mapping activity.
ethnobotany, citizen participation, national parks, conservation areas, natural resource management, Peru, biodiversity, case studies, indigenous knowledge, data collection, focus groups, interviews
del Campo H, Wali A. 2007. Applying asset mapping to protected area planning and management in the Cordillera Azul National Park, Peru. Ethnobotany Research & Applications 5:25-36.
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