The challenge of advancing just conservation in the Peruvian Chaparri Nature Reserve

Authors: Constanza Parra*, University of Leuven, Pieter Van Den Broeck*, KU Leuven, Marcia Iberico, Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Elke Hermans, University of Hasselt, Judith Roldan, Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Heider Escalante, Universidad Nacional de Trujillo
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Cultural and Political Ecology, Latin America
Keywords: nature conservation, protected areas, land grabbing, environmental governance, environmental justice,Peru,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Iris, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The question about how to protect nature without limiting the livelihood opportunities of local communities has challenged scholars and practitioners worldwide. Debates on this question deal with variegated problems arising from the contradictions between biodiversity conservation and development ambitions which are difficult to align. Based on a case-study research in Peru, the Chaparri Nature Reserve, this paper examines the contemporary challenges of advancing just conservation in Global South countries (Martin, 2017). The Chaparri Reserve, a mountain protected area (PA) covered by sub-tropical dry forest, expands over a surface of 34000 hectares, containing a variety of ecosystems and fauna in danger of extinction. This Reserve was created by the local association ACOTURCH, which for several years has been fighting against the propagation of mining, illegal forest clear-cutting and hunting, among other unsustainable practices which are endemic in countries with an export basket based on the exploitation of natural resources. Alternatively, Chaparri communities have chosen to match conservation and sustainable development by means of creating the first Peruvian private protected area. This paper is structured in four parts. Part one bridges literature on socio-ecological systems, political ecology and environmental justice to discuss critical issues in the contemporary governance of PAs. Section two discusses conservation and land policies in Peru, a country threatened by extractivism. Section three zooms in on Chaparri and its bottom-up linking impact in the Peruvian socio-ecological landscape. We conclude with reflections on conflicts and opportunities arising from the confrontation between local conservation and sustainability aims and intruding land/nature grabbing.

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