People-park conflicts and political ecology perspectives from the Natma Taung National Park, Myanmar

Authors: Nandar Aye*, , Yana Wengel, Hainan University -Arizona State University Joint International Tourism College
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Development, Tourism Geography
Keywords: political ecology, community, protected area, conservation, Myanmar
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 12
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Protected areas are established and managed for the conservation of ecological integrity, wildlife, and biodiversity. Human pressures triggered by communities’ livelihood dependency on natural and forest resources and unsustainable agriculture and tourism practices can cause land and resource use conflicts. Different approaches and strategies are recommended for protected area management to mitigate conflicts and promote local participation. In implementing management strategies, it is necessary to understand the politics and social-ecological transformation of the communities. In Myanmar, the government initiated participatory land-use planning and buffer zones development. Focusing on power interplays and territoriality at local levels, this research investigates the socio-economic and political effects of conservation initiatives and economic development practices with a focus on tourism initiatives in communities living inside Natma Taung National Park. Using the political ecology as a theoretical framework, this exploratory study adopts netnographical methods to examine communities’ perceptions of cultural identity and political agency by conducting online interviews and collecting netnographic information. Although the central government is working on participatory management of protected areas and ecotourism development in the national park, the absence of transparency and lack of capacity development initiatives for the community challenges these government ideas.

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