Governance and Management in a Complex Landscape: Learning from the Yasuni National Park

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The Amazon biome houses one of the most extensive intact tropical forests in the world and, as a result of conservation efforts, more than 60 percent is under some form of protection and as recognized indigenous territories. The prominent conservation approach in the Amazon biome for the last 20 years has been protected area creation and ensuring their effective management. Yet, despite concrete results, conservation practitioners constantly debate over what is the most effective conservation approach to secure the Amazon’s long-term protection. By applying a three-pronged methodology, I reviewed protected area governance and management conditions in a complex socio-ecological landscape such as the Yasuni National Park in Ecuador. Based on a 14-year forest cover assessment, the low deforestation rates inside the park compared to the forest loss trends outside its limits validates studies in other tropical regions that protected areas deter deforestation. In addition, four year management effectiveness results have a link with results in forest loss such that high effectiveness scores coincide with low deforestation rates. However, given the multiple threats to the park and the variety of stakeholder interests, I recommend a governance approach to adapt to the park’s complex social, economic, ecological, and political system.





Arroyo, Paulina (2017). Governance and Management in a Complex Landscape: Learning from the Yasuni National Park. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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