Although a number of important approaches for conserving biodiversity have been developed, establishing protected areas continues to represent an essential foundation for biodiversity conservation. However, there are many factors that affect protected areas effectiveness, from direct threats to biodiversity to complex social, economic, and cultural pressures.
More specifically, these pressures include, but are not limited to poverty, human population growth, urbanization, and increased demand for natural resources. It is argued that human rights and social, cultural, and economic needs of the local populations, especially in developing countries cannot be ignored when designing and managing a protected area as it is likely to affect the effectiveness and level of support for these protected areas. On the other hand, others argue that the level of biodiversity protection in these reserves is reduced when local communities are allowed to extract natural resources because they tend to overexploit.
What do you think? You are a mindful conservation biologist and with the aim of saving biodiversity as your primary goal, do you think that protected areas should completely exclude humans from living in and off these areas in any way? Or should people, especially native, indigenous populations be allowed to live on these protected areas and sustain their way of living while perhaps also becoming involved in the management of these protected areas?