At the Intersection of People, Politics, and Protected Areas: A Mixed Methods Case Study on the Human Dimensions of Conservation in the Buffer Zone of Chitwan National Park, Nepal
MetadataShow full item record
Protected areas impinge on the livelihoods of people, especially in the Global South. In Nepal, a constellation of conservation initiatives including, and tangential to, Chitwan National Park (CNP) have a polarizing impact on the human population living in its periphery. In this area, the human dimensions of conservation (HDC) are entangled with and shaped by the socio-cultural context of Nepal—a rigidly hierarchical society that systematically marginalizes people based on caste, gender, and economic status. This mixed methods case study examined the HDC in the periphery of CNP. A participatory action research project explored marginalized people’s experiences of conservation. A survey analyzed broader trends in the HDC, elucidating a relationship between a perceived negative impact of conservation and education, occupation, and poverty. Drawing from postcolonial theorists—Said, Wainwright, and Spivak—I investigated the role of conservation in the (re)production of discrimination in Nepal. If the inequities engendered by conservation in the periphery of CNP are to be addressed, HDC researchers and conservationists must abandon all pretense of being apolitical, and the marginalized people currently excluded by the conservation discourse must be meaningfully included.