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Distant Interactions, Power, and Environmental Justice in Protected Area Governance: A Telecoupling Perspective

1
Institute of Geography, University of Bern, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
2
Center for Regional Economic Development (CRED), University of Bern, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
3
Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3954; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113954
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 28 October 2018 / Published: 30 October 2018
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Abstract

Equity has become a major concern in efforts to conserve nature. However, in the Global South, inequitable social impacts of conservation usually prevail. We investigate barriers to equitable governance of four protected areas through an innovative approach linking the tri-dimensional framing of environmental justice with the notion of telecoupling. We conceptualize the creation, support, and implementation of protected areas as telecoupling processes that involve flows, actors, and action situations, and assess them based on a set of indicators of procedural justice, distributive justice, and recognition. We perform the analysis for parallel or competing telecoupling processes that affect the areas and we then investigate the scope and reach of resistance actions to attain more equitable outcomes. Identified barriers include dependence of the PAs on transnational financial flows, presence of competing extractive demands, negative narratives on local practices, wilderness and Malthusian framings, authoritarian rule, narrow development options, and socio-cultural discrimination. These combined barriers create multiple forms of exclusion. Resistance actions are likely to succeed when actors can mobilize alliances and resources across distance. We conclude that justice framings can make power relationships in telecouplings more visible, and that considering distant interactions can elucidate causes of (in)equity in conservation. View Full-Text
Keywords: telecoupling; protected areas; environmental justice; political ecology; equitable conservation; conservation and development telecoupling; protected areas; environmental justice; political ecology; equitable conservation; conservation and development
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Boillat, S.; Gerber, J.-D.; Oberlack, C.; Zaehringer, J.G.; Ifejika Speranza, C.; Rist, S. Distant Interactions, Power, and Environmental Justice in Protected Area Governance: A Telecoupling Perspective. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3954.

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