Setting Habitats Aside for Biodiversity Conservation

  • Bila-Isia InogwabiniEmail author
Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 12)


Creating new protected areas is a contentious issue because the impact of protected areas on humans is thought to be negative. However, with the alarming declines in biodiversity and the diminishing soil fertility, everyone recognizes that protected areas are the backbones of biodiversity conservation and they are the most viable option to preserve habitats and ecosystems. The chapter argues that the philosophical incommensurability between needs to preserve biodiversity and needs to care about the livelihoods of local communities are rather simply felt and can be reconciled if methods to create new protected areas are cleared of the legacy of past failed experiences. Without negating mutually negative effects of protected areas on humans and of increased human populations on biodiversity, the past experience of protected areas in Democratic Republic of Congo made of imposition without community participation in the decision-making process and, ipso facto, without community free and informed consent lays at the heart of the opposition biodiversity versus humans. The creation of new protected areas within the Lake Tumba Landscape used a process that lessens the opposition between biodiversity conservation and fulfillment of human needs. This process is based on broad participation involving communities immediately adjacent to protected areas and a variety of stakeholders with true stakes in areas to be preserved. The end product was an agreement on rights to access some key resources that would classically be infringed by protected areas without people consenting to that effect, attached to sensible trade-offs such as people participating in deterring massive commercially driven poaching.


Protected areas Community participation Creation of protected area IUCN category VI Human needs Human livelihoods 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research and Communication in Sustainable Development (CERED)The Jesuit Loyola University of CongoKinshasaCongo, Republic

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