Sustainability 2012, 4(12), 3260-3278; doi:10.3390/su4123260
Article

Inclusive Protected Area Management in the Amazon: The Importance of Social Networks over Ecological Knowledge

1 Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Research on Biological Resources, Avenida Paseo de Bolívar (Circunvalar) 16–20, Bogotá, Colombia 2 Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, University of Bergen, P.O. Box 7805, N-5020 Bergen, Norway
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 September 2012; in revised form: 5 November 2012 / Accepted: 16 November 2012 / Published: 30 November 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development in Natural Protected Areas)
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Abstract: In the Amacayacu National Park in Colombia, which partially overlaps with Indigenous territories, several elements of an inclusive protected area management model have been implemented since the 1990s. In particular, a dialogue between scientific researchers, indigenous people and park staff has been promoted for the co-production of biological and cultural knowledge for decision-making. This paper, based on a four-year ethnographic study of the park, shows how knowledge products about different components of the socio-ecosystem neither were efficiently obtained nor were of much importance in park management activities. Rather, the knowledge pertinent to park staff in planning and management is the know-how required for the maintenance and mobilization of multi-scale social-ecological networks. We argue that the dominant models for protected area management—both top-down and inclusive models—underestimate the sociopolitical realm in which research is expected to take place, over-emphasize ecological knowledge as necessary for management and hold a too strong belief in decision-making as a rational, organized response to diagnosis of the PA, rather than acknowledging that thick complexity needs a different form of action. Co-production of knowledge is crucial for governance, but mainly not for the reasons for which it is promoted.
Keywords: protected areas; knowledge; co-management; Colombia; Amazon basin

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ungar, P.; Strand, R. Inclusive Protected Area Management in the Amazon: The Importance of Social Networks over Ecological Knowledge. Sustainability 2012, 4, 3260-3278.

AMA Style

Ungar P, Strand R. Inclusive Protected Area Management in the Amazon: The Importance of Social Networks over Ecological Knowledge. Sustainability. 2012; 4(12):3260-3278.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ungar, Paula; Strand, Roger. 2012. "Inclusive Protected Area Management in the Amazon: The Importance of Social Networks over Ecological Knowledge." Sustainability 4, no. 12: 3260-3278.

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