This brief review outlines the strong need for gathering reliable data on the livelihoods impacts of protected areas, and illustrates some of the approaches being taken. It notes that the question of social benefits of protected areas for local people is only a part of the issue at hand. There are also social benefits and costs at national levels and even at global levels. Tracking these costs and benefits at multiple scales is possible, but very difficult.
This review outlines the challenges that this work faces and the fact that there is currently no agreed framework, appoach, set of methods, or field tools for undertaking the required work to assess the social impacts of protected areas. There is little funding available to tackle the problem systematically, which is surprising, given that this is such an important issue for the protected area community – and links to several international agreements and the poverty elimination agenda.
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