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What Constitutes Success in Pacific Island Community Conserved Areas?

Joanna C Axford, School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, University of Queensland
Marc T Hockings, School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, University of Queensland
R W. (Bill) Carter, Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast


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In recent years, few if any community conserved areas (CCAs) in the Pacific island region have been regarded as being successful. However, as success is rarely defined, what constitutes “success” is not clear. This paper reports an investigation into the way “outsiders” perceive success in Pacific island CCAs. An exploratory survey revealed six umbrella themes of success: the locus of control; local benefits; resource aspects; management; external stakeholder involvement; and sustainability. Multivariate analysis distinguished two groups, a Big picture group and a Locally focused group. These differ in how they define success, as well as their organizational alignment. The Big picture group, largely from funder agencies and international NGOs, were focused on the broad issues of success, especially the sustainability of CCAs. The Locally focused group was concerned with the practical workings and needs of successful CCAs in the Pacific; many in this group were based with Pacific island governments and NGOs or CCAs. The study concludes that success in CCAs should not be defined solely on project objectives, especially when these have been developed by an external entity or under their guidance. If they are, high rates of failure are to be expected.

Key words

community conserved area; conservation; Pacific islands; perception; protected area; success

Copyright © 2008 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087