Meanings, drivers, and motivations for community-based conservation in Latin America

Isabel Ruiz-Mallén, Christoph Schunko, Esteve Corbera, Matthias Rös, Victoria Reyes-García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 by the author(s). Indigenous and rural communities have developed strategies aimed at supporting their livelihoods and protecting biodiversity Motivational factors underlying these local conservation strategies, however, are still a largely neglected topic. We aimed to enrich the conceptualization of community-based conservation by exploring trigger events and motivations that induce local people to be engaged in practical institutional arrangements for successful natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. By examining the history and development of three community conservation initiatives in Brazil, Mexico, and Bolivia, we have illustrated and discussed two main ways of understanding community-based conservation from the interaction between extrinsic and intrinsic motivations. First, incentive-based conservation policies can stimulate people’s economic interests and mobilize individual and collective behavior toward the formalization of conservation-oriented actions. Second, environmental justice concerns, such as international and national movements for the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, can support local people’s sense of autonomy and result in increased control over their territory and resources, as well as a renewed conservation commitment. The results are useful from a policy perspective because they provide insight into the governance of conservation development by bridging the gap between communities’ culturally based motivations for conservation, which are still embedded in customary institutions, and broader political and socioeconomic contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalEcology and Society
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Biodiversity
  • Commons
  • Governance
  • Latin America
  • Protected areas


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