Synergies and trade-offs among integrated conservation approaches in Mexico.

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Integrated conservation approaches (ICAs) are employed by governments, communities, and nongovernmental organizations worldwide seeking to achieve outcomes with dual benefits for biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Although ICAs are frequently implemented concurrently, interactions among ICAs and the synergies or trade-offs that result are rarely considered during program design, implementation, and evaluation. In support of more deliberate and effective use of ICAs, we examined interactions among four well-known strategies: biosphere reserves (BRs), voluntary protected areas (VPAs), payments for ecosystem services (PES), and community forest management (CFM). Through a comparative case study, we analyzed interactions among spatially or temporally clustered ICAs implemented on communally held and managed lands in three ecologically and socioeconomically distinct regions of Mexico. Our research methods combined policy analysis with data gathered through participant observation and semistructured interviews (n = 78) and focus groups (n = 5) with government officials, implementers, and participants involved in ICAs in 28 communities. Despite the significant differences among the regions in which they were implemented, we found that key actors at each level of involvement generally perceived interactions among ICAs as synergistic. The PES programs were perceived to strengthen protected areas by reducing forest cover loss in and around BRs, fostering proconservation attitudes, and incentivizing the establishment of VPAs. Communities that invested PES income in CFM were motivated to conserve forests beyond the duration of PES programs, and CFM in buffer zones was perceived to strengthen BRs by maintaining forest cover and generating income for communities. We also identified key social and environmental factors that can influence these interaction effects among ICAs. Based on these findings, we recommend further study of ICA interactions and intentionally complementary policy design to maximize positive environmental and social outcomes.





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Alatorre, Andrea, Johanna Depenthal and Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza (2021). Synergies and trade-offs among integrated conservation approaches in Mexico. Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology. 10.1111/cobi.13711 Retrieved from

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