2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Area and the Case Studied
3.1. Participant’s Perceptions of PAs and Conservation: Quantitative Analysis
3.2. Participant’s Perceptions and Values towards Protected Areas and Conservation: Qualitative Analysis
Conservation practitioner 3: “We used to cut down the trees and plant maize or harvest honey, but we learned and now we take care after the forest. Since the PA was established, we feel pure air and that the rain comes more often, the forest is prettier.”
Conservation practitioner 1: “Before the PA managers came here, we used to dedicate ourselves only to goat husbandry, and to agriculture in wintertime, now we protect the forest.”
Community member 4: "The PA managers once taught us that it’s much better to own only 10 goats with high yield rather than many goats harming the forest. There was even an Organisation that gave us steel wire to fence the area.”
Community member 16: “We used to deplete everything, even water! People used to cut down the trees to collect honey or to plant maize. Now, we have been trained that we should not do that, so that there has been an enormous change. We stopped logging, we don’t cut down the trees, we take care of the trees now.”
Conservation Practitioner: “I care about that forest because of the local communities living there. Some of them even live in extreme poverty. If we manage them and polish them, they will understand the importance of natural resources.”
Municipality representative: “The forest is the source of life and development, not only for people living in the forest but for all of us living in the urban centre. We see it as a good thing this Reserve, because it gives us tourism, we all benefit from tourism one way or another.”
Parish representative 6: “In wintertime, the forest provides benefits for agriculturalists because they have their goats in there. In summertime, when leaves fall, they are used as fodder. It is a circle, the forest always benefits agriculturalists.”
Community member 13: “.…We don’t cut down the trees because the soil will get damaged and the wood will be depleted. If we do it, we won’t have forest and therefore we won’t have rain. Thanks to the forest the air here is pure.”
Parish representative 7: “La hojarasca (leaf litter) coming from the trees is our goat’s fodder. That is their food source. I disagree with cutting down the trees. From the forests come the rain because the vegetation calls the water.”
Community member 11: “It is natural that we all look after the environment, not only for those who work in the PA, but for all of us who live here. All the good comes from the forests: fresh air, rain, it is also the home of our goats and cows.”
Community board representative 9: “I am critical about the social aspects. I would rather look at people living within the protected area, for they deserve a better quality of life and access to basic services such as waste management that would help us all to have a forest well cared. Environmentally, logging has stopped, more research has been conducted, papers on local flora and fauna have been published. All that is spectacular. However, there hasn’t been any social change, people’s life conditions haven’t improved.”
Community member 16: “What would a peasant do here for a living if we say that we are going to protect everything? Let’s say we will protect the forest, that’s all right, but then, what are we going to plant/sow? Current authorities will never say ‘...come here, this job is for you’ so, what do we do for a living?”
Community member 5: “How could it be good that people are coming and buying lands. We know what our land needs, we don’t need anyone else to tell us what to do because we know our land.”
Community board representative 9: “The PA’s owners wanted to take this land by claiming that they had bought the hacienda. Because in this land they have a seed from which they extract oil to later send it to Brazil for perfume business. So, they wanted to take our land-rights away. I had a piece of land of 100 has. that indeed belongs to the hacienda, but I stood for my rights against the engineer in charge. Then people from the Secretary of Land came to establish the limits and the discussion started. They (PA-owners) wanted to own everything, they wanted to take the land away from us. Before it was an open field with an owner (the hacendado).”
Conservation practitioner 3: “People said to me: ‘You, why do you ban me to cut down a tree or to hunt an animal if this (land) is not yours?’ However, since this (land) belongs to the PA, I have the right to claim it for the owners and say that no one can access it and that they need a permit to do so.”
Conservation Practitioner 1: “Our work has been hard; it has cost us lots of local criticism from people outside (of the Reserve). They do not realise what we have. Those who do not care, cut down the trees and get the honey. They don’t care about anything, but we are reallocating them, we are taking control.”
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|Categories||Description||Qualitative Codes||Quantitative Codes|
|Level of Collaboration||Measured through PA-based employment, PA resource use-allowance, and administrative support.||High||1|
|Dependence on PA’s natural resources||Measured through PA resource use, for example, fodder, land, or water.||High||1|
|Values||Biospheric: every living being has the right to live and develop. It dissolves any hierarchy among living beings (Valera 2017).|
Naturalism: from the theoretical/epistemological point of view, naturalism has a dichotomous vision of nature in relation to the social. Society and nature are separated entities (Santos 2014).
|Untitled plots||Measured through the percentage of untitled plots within 2 km radius.||___||% of untitled plots|
|Perceptions towards PAs||Measured through the use of positive or negative adjectives, opinions over nature conservation, social welfare, and acceptance/rejection of PAs.||Positive||1|
|Customary land uses||Measured according to the usufruct of the PA natural resources.||Continuing||1|
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