New field manual for documenting the social impacts of conservation interventions

Posted on 09 November 2012    
Raja Ampat view, Papua, Indonesia
© Jürgen Freund /WWF
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an integral component of local, national, and international strategies for biodiversity conservation, but their contribution to sustainable development remains contested. To provide conservation practitioners and policymakers with robust evidence on the social and ecological impacts of MPAs, World Wildlife Fund-US launched a collaboration with the State University of Papua (UNIPA), WWF-Indonesia, Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy to monitor the social impacts of MPA establishment and document the underlying attributes of MPA governance likely to shape these social impacts, in the Bird’s Head Seascape of Papua, Indonesia. As part of this ongoing initiative, WWF and UNIPA recently released a field manual which describes methods developed in the Bird’s Head Seascape, for monitoring the social impacts of conservation interventions.

The methodology adopts best practice in monitoring and evaluation to document the impacts of MPA establishment on household well-being across social domains (e.g. economic well-being, health) as well as within and among social groups (e.g., fishers vs. non-fishers). In addition to documenting variation in the social impacts of conservation, the methodology provides a mechanism for linking an intervention to its impacts by characterising the governance of the MPAs themselves. The field manual is designed to provide conservation practitioners and scholars with the information and guidance necessary to implement and adapt the methods developed in the Bird’s Head Seascape suit to their own needs.

For further information about the field manual or the ongoing efforts to monitor the social impacts of MPAs, please contact

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