What Is Behind Land Claims? Downsizing of a Conservation Area in Southeastern Ecuador | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
January 2017
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 
LP-midp003094
Copyright details: 
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article

While an increase in the size and number of conservation areas is expected as part of global environmental commitments, at the same time, Protected Area Downgrading, Downsizing, and Degazettement, or PADDD, is becoming more frequent worldwide. This paper analyzes the causal relationships between land claims and human settlements on the one hand and the downsizing process of a protective forest in southeastern Ecuador on the other. Industrial-scale commodity production, extraction, infrastructure development, and local land claims or existence of human settlements constitute the main drivers, but a deeper understanding of PADDD causality requires detailed documentation of the history of PA growth and loss. We analyzed official documents, conducted qualitative research through semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, and carried out a thematic analysis. We found that institutional and legal changes at the national level drive downsizing, and that local demands to land titles are a proximate cause. Our analysis demonstrates how driver and cause operate in an intertwined, multi-scalar relationship, and concludes that there is a need for more detailed understanding of PADDD causality, either to prevent such events or to define alternative tools, which can replace the idea of having areas with fixed borders to promote conservation, especially in inhabited zones.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

López Sandoval, María F.Gerique, AndrésPohle, Perdita

Corporate Author(s): 
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    MDPI AG, a publisher of open-access scientific journals, was spun off from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International organization. It was formally registered by Shu-Kun Lin and Dietrich Rordorf in May 2010 in Basel, Switzerland, and maintains editorial offices in China, Spain and Serbia. MDPI relies primarily on article processing charges to cover the costs of editorial quality control and production of articles. Over 280 universities and institutes have joined the MDPI Institutional Open Access Program; authors from these organizations pay reduced article processing charges.

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