A Property Rights Approach to Understanding Human Displacement from Protected Areas: the Case of Marine Protected Areas

Author(s)

Michael B. Mascia
C. Anne Claus

Keywords

Local peoples, protected areas, social impacts, fisherfolk, livelihoods, marine reserves, national parks

Abstract

The physical, economic, and sociocultural displacement of local peoples from protected areas generates intense discussion among scholars and policy makers. To foster greater precision and clarity in these discussions, we used a conceptual framework from the political economy literature to examine different forms of human displacement from protected areas. Using marine protected areas (MPAs) to ground our analysis, we characterized the 5 types of property rights that are reallocated (lost, secured, and gained) through the establishment of protected areas. All forms of MPA “displacement” involve reallocation of property rights, but the specific types and bundles of rights lost, secured, and gained dramatically shape the magnitude, extent, and equity of MPA impacts—positive and negative—on governance, economic well-being, health, education, social capital, and culture. The impacts of reallocating rights to MPA resources vary within and among social groups, inducing changes in society, in patterns of resource use, and in the environment. To create more environmentally sustainable and socially just conservation practice, a critical next step in conservation social science research is to document and explain variation in the social impacts of protected areas.

Citation

(2009) 23 Conservation Biology 16-23

Paper

A Property Rights Approach to Understanding Human Displacement from Protected Areas: the Case of Marine Protected Areas