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Strategies for biodiversity conservation in the Lower Mekong

Preece, Luke Daniel (2013). Strategies for biodiversity conservation in the Lower Mekong. PhD Thesis, Charles Darwin University.

Document type: Thesis
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Author Preece, Luke Daniel
Title Strategies for biodiversity conservation in the Lower Mekong
Institution Charles Darwin University
Publication Date 2013
Thesis Type PhD
Subjects 0502 - Environmental Science and Management
0599 - Other Environmental Sciences
Abstract Globally, conservation organisations apply several different approaches to slow the loss of biodiversity and improve local livelihoods, but the results of these efforts continue to be challenged by an array of factors at multiple scales. The primary aim of this thesis is to explore the nature of conservation and development interventions and the factors influencing these interventions in forest conservation areas of three countries in the Lower Mekong region, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Two key methods are used to explore four aspects of forest conservation. The first method develops and analyses 164 variables capturing the context and management of 15 conservation areas to explore the factors influencing conservation at the landscape and national scales, the threats to forest biodiversity and implementation strategies of conservation organisations. The second method uses a systems dynamic model to explore the effect of different environmental and development scenarios on biodiversity and livelihoods at one site, Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam. The results of this research demonstrate that conservation in the Lower Mekong is influenced by a variety of factors at multiple scales, but with marked differences among countries. As a result of environmental, social, historical and political context, diverse and pragmatic strategies are employed by conservation organisations, which make clear choices and compromises between conservation and development. Biodiversity conservation is particularly constrained by economic development imperatives, which cause multiple threats to forest areas, and several governance influences, including weak laws, low financial resources, poor transparency and insecure tenure, that limit the effectiveness of interventions. To improve biodiversity conservation outcomes, strategies require a greater understanding of local-level context and wider societal influences. Working with multiple actors to build consensus for the management of conservation areas can enhance conservation outcomes, especially by employing adaptive management frameworks and forming partnerships.
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