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Who does better at PAs — governments or communities? The answer depends, study says

What works better: protected areas managed by the state, or areas conserved by Indigenous peoples and local communities? More than 50 different researchers came together to try to settle this debate. But their review of the scientific literature, published recently in Annual Reviews of Environment and Resources, concluded with what some might find to be an unsatisfactory answer: what works is super local, and context dependent.

“In some ways, it’s a rather discouraging finding because if conservation effectiveness becomes so locally specific and so context dependent, it limits the purview of grand global statements,” says Dan Brockington, an anthropologist at the University of Sheffield, U.K., and a corresponding author of the study. “On the other hand, that’s an incredibly empowering finding for national, regional, and local conservation groups because it basically says, look, we do know what’s best about our context.”

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