CCRN Communities Conservation Livelihoods

What are the links between Communities, Conservation & Livelihoods?

This website provides a focal point for knowledge sharing and capacity building on the interactions of Communities, Conservation and Livelihoods, and in particular a hub for community-based conservation research and support initiatives around the world. Please take some time to read our Community Stories and visit our video page to explore how communities are dealing with environmental and livelihood challenges. If you are looking for analytical or training tools for community-based conservation, browse our Resources section to look at related publications and our original guidebooks on Social Ecological Systems and Governance. If you would like to connect with other organizations and communities around the world engaged in community-based conservation initiatives, please have a look at our Communities in Action mapping tool, where you can see what other communities are doing, and share your own story.

Some insights are already available concerning the links of Communities, Conservation and Livelihoods.

First, there is a 2-way connection between the well-being of local communities and the health of local ecosystems. A healthy environment is crucial for local communities (and even national economies), just as strong, cohesive communities enable conservation efforts to maintain healthy local ecosystems.

Second, it is clear that those local community conservation initiatives benefit when supported through governmental policy. Notably, recognition of community knowledge helps to improve both the economy and the environment. The same applies to larger-scale conservation and resource management efforts. Active and meaningful engagement of local communities and indigenous rights-holders in resource decision-making and monitoring typically leads to improved conservation and management practices.

Overall, the evidence indicates that (1) community-based conservation is essential to livelihoods of local and indigenous people, also contributing significantly to sustainable local, regional and national economies, and (2) in parallel, adequate attention to the need for sustainable livelihoods in communities is an essential ingredient for successful environmental conservation and stewardship.

Four key questions to seek out a better understanding of these connections

The following four questions form the basis for seeking out a better understanding of and support for the links between sustainable livelihoods and environmental conservation, from a community perspective:

  • How are communities meeting local environmental and economic challenges?
  • What can we learn from conservation experiences of communities around the world?
  • How do local conservation initiatives meet community livelihood priorities?
  • How can government policy best support local stewardship and livelihood initiatives?

Join us in exploring these questions on this website, as we seek out new insights into “best practices” for local communities engaging in conservation, for governments developing policies supportive of these local initiatives, and for innovative governance that supports conservation in keeping with community values.