© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Under the assumption that local participation can contribute toward conservation, various policies have sought to increase the participation of local communities in conservation, but not always with success. Despite this failure, the drivers that explain local participation remain unclear and few studies have attempted to understand the motivations behind involvement (or lack of it) in different conservation initiatives and adopting the perspective of the local stakeholder. In this study, we analyze the motives behind the participation (or lack thereof) of local populations in three conservation schemes: Protected Areas, Areas Voluntary Devoted to Conservation, and areas under Payment for Environmental Services. The study, conducted in 6 communities of southeastern Mexico, comprises an ethnographic stage and the application of a survey exploring the motives for participation. Our results show similarities among the motives for participation in these three initiatives, predominantly the obligation to comply with acquired commitments and a desire to “care for the land”. Results also show that 77 % of the people interviewed did not participate in any conservation initiatives, often due to the lack of mechanisms by which to participate. We conclude by questioning the feasibility of achieving local participation in conservation as currently proposed and for the aims that are outlined.
- Community conservation
- Local participation
- Payment for ecosystem services
- Protected areas