Local communities and private protected areas in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil: implications for sustainable development and nature conservation

Slovak, Peter (2017) Local communities and private protected areas in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil: implications for sustainable development and nature conservation. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (4MB)


The recent rapid proliferation of Private Protected Areas (PPAs) around the world has been attributed to the continuing process of neoliberalization and the commodification of nature. Although the numbers of PPAs have been growing in recent years, little research has been conducted on their everyday functions and particularly their interactions with local populations. Based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork, this thesis focuses on a specific PPA, the Redonda Private Reserve in the Atlantic Forest region of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and three local, surrounding communities, Jabá, Esperança and Bamba. Through this focus, the thesis examines a number of issues, including the incentives and motives which lead landowners to establish and administer private reserves and how these influence the pattern of relationship formation between the reserve and the local communities. The research also considers the main implications of such private reserves for local people and their livelihoods. Finally, the thesis considers whether and how local people’s perception of the environment and the way they use their surrounding natural resources have changed since the establishment of the private reserve.
A central contention of the thesis is that although often interpreted as ‘new’ or ‘modern’ and labelled as ‘contemporary’ solutions to common environmental problems, PPAs, particularly when considered in the context of their interaction with the affected local rural populations, cannot be analyzed in isolation from the wider socio-economic processes and local context where they are found. Thus, areas where PPAs emerge cannot be simply divorced from the past processes of territorialisation and land appropriation; rather, they must be understood as their continuation often reproducing pre-existing social and economic inequalities. For example, the proclaimed ‘modern’ way of relating to local men and women, such as through employment, can help to disguise the continuation of traditional social hierarchies, perpetuating unequal power and wealth distribution. The thesis also shows how local people are purposefully constructed by PPAs and their representatives to gain the sympathy of outside donors and thus secure the essential funding they depend on for their existence, facilitate control over the protected natural resources and eliminate or reduce local resentment. The implications of such social interactions are profound for both the involved rural communities and the natural environment that PPAs have been set up to protect.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Development
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F2201 South America > F2501 Brazil
H Social Sciences > HC Economic history and conditions > HC0079 Special topics, A-Z > HC0079.E5 Environmental policy and economic development. Sustainable development Including environmental economics
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2017 11:44
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 11:44
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/72319

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update