Participation in community protected area management: Lessons from Phnom Kulen National Park, Cambodia

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi; Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Abstract: Community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) is often promoted a way to address natural resources challenges while empowering communities and improving livelihoods. However, empirical evidence has shown that CBNRM does not always entail inclusive community engagement or result in the equitable distribution of costs and benefits. Women, in particular, are often excluded from participating in or benefiting from CBNRM. Drawing from these empirical insights, this thesis utilizes a qualitative case study approach to analyze the underlying factors that influence participation in community protected area management, a form of CBNRM, in Phnom Kulen National Park, Cambodia. Through an analysis of 19 semi-structured interviews with community members living in and near community protected areas, supplemented by four expert interviews, the findings reveal that norms, low education level, and cognitive schema, prevent women in particular from participating in community-based management. However, poverty and the limited remaining natural resources in the area present a barrier for everyone to participate and benefit from CBNRM. This ultimately limits opportunities for CBNRM to serve as a vehicle for community empowerment in Phnom Kulen National Park.

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