Gender and tropical forest conservation in multi-use conservation areas : a case study from the western Amazon (Loreto, Peru)

Date

2020-05-08

Authors

Diamond, Sara Kehl

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

This dissertation investigates the role of gender in resource governance, land-use, and management in tropical forests. Using a theoretical framework grounded in Feminist Political Ecology and Conservation Biogeography, I asked: How is natural resource use changing in the face of shifting governance, community demographics, and land use policies? And, how does gender impact resource use and governance? Taking cultivated landscapes and family diets as a proxy for resource use practices at large, I engaged ethnographic methods, interviews, and focus groups over four field visits between 2013 and 2017 to investigate natural resource use and management of cultivated spaces in the Tamshiyacu Tahuayo Regional Conservation Area (ACRCTT) in northeastern Peru.

Cumulative results from 21 buffer area communities indicated that residents rely almost exclusively on local natural resources for their subsistence and livelihoods. Residents maintain between one and five agricultural plots per adult, and report utilizing 30 agricultural products, up to 249 non-agricultural botanical species (under 174 common names), up to 153 fish species, and 44 regularly hunted animals. One household however, may plant only a few or many (up to 24) different cultivated products spread between 1-8 different plots. These numbers do not include fruits and medicinal plants cultivated in kitchen gardens.

Area natural resources are managed at local and regional scales simultaneously, but participation in governance is gendered and women face disproportionate barriers to engage in formal community and regional governance and in informal governance channels. Rapidly shrinking community populations and lack of demographic representation in area governance threatens the future of the ACRCTT and potentially disincentivizes adherence to local resource quotas implemented to ensure sustainable natural resource use.

Rural community demographics are changing rapidly due to outmigration, which is driven primarily by educational opportunities for children. Decreased local populations can lead to a loss of locally normalized sustainable manament practices and an increase in commercial extractive acivites. Results of this study indicate that increased social services and increased educational quality in rural areas could slow family emigration to urban areas. This, plus increased inclusion of and representation by women at all levels of area governance could improve long term conservation outcomes in the ACRCTT.

Description

LCSH Subject Headings

Citation