Analyzing the Impact of Participatory-Planned Conservation Policies in the Negril Environmental Protection Area, western Jamaica

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2007-05-06

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ABSTRACT Title of Dissertation: ANALYZING THE IMPACT OF PARTICIPATORY PLANNED CONSERVATION POLICIES IN THE NEGRIL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AREA, WESTERN JAMAICA

		       	  Lovette Miller Anderson, Doctor of Philosophy, 2007

Dissertation directed by: Professor Ruth Defries Department of Geography

This dissertation research sought to determine the ways in which the participatory-planned conservation policies influence changes in local populations' natural resource use. The research took place in the Negril Environmental Protection Area, western Jamaica and covered the period 1990 to 2005. The two major questions asked were 1) In what ways do participatory-planned conservation policies influence changes in the protected area's natural resource use? 2) How does group membership and demography influence the perception of the conservation policies and of changes in natural resource use? The research employed trend analyses, content analyses, a population survey, discriminant analyses and semi-structured interviews to answer the research questions.

In general, the research finds that national socioeconomic development interests were given priority over the participatory-planned conservation policies. The changes in local populations' natural resource use were primarily due to the national socioeconomic policies that were in place prior to the protected area designation as well as those that were implemented during the study period. Second, the research finds that, in general, groups that have shared histories were homogeneous in their views of conservation and/or development. In contrast, newer entrants to the protected area were generally heterogeneous in their views of conservation and/or development. Further, the research finds that changes in the demographic characteristics of local populations significantly influence the perception of conservation and development. For example, respondents who were relatively new to the protected area generally had a positive perception of conservation and of the decline in fishing jobs. In contrast, respondents who have lived there relatively longer had a negative perception of conservation and of the decline in fishing jobs.

By examining the complexity of implementing the participatory-planned conservation policies in Negril's postcolonial and non-colonial socioeconomic and political landscape, this research extends the discourse on protected areas from large, relatively low populated areas to the complex geographic landscapes that currently describe some newer protected areas.

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