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Social-Ecological Systems Meta-Analysis Database: Theory

Local livelihood and protected areas

Variable relationship:
This theory is based on a meta-analysis of terrestrial and marine protected areas (Oldekop et al. 2015). The authors examine both socioeconomic and conservation outcomes. This theory focuses on their findings of conservation outcomes. The authors found that reported positive conservation outcomes (Commons Condition Trend) were associated with reported positive socioeconomic outcomes (User Group Well-being Change). Positive cultural and livelihood impacts were associated with positive conservation outcomes. There was no evidence for regional variation in the reporting of successful conservation outcomes.
Scientific Field
Component Type(s)


VariableRoleRole ExplanationValue
Cultural services conditionProximate independent variableImpacts on cultural identity or community cohesion, access to culturally important sites and resources, and aesthetic appreciation of surroundings. Positive cultural outcomes were found to be correlated with positive conservation outcomes.Improved
Policy instrumentProximate independent variableThis theory refers to effects of protected areasProtected area
User group well-being changeProximate independent variableDefined by the authors as livelihood impacts, which are positive or negative livelihood impacts outside the monetary economy (e.g. subsistence farming, hunting and gathering of natural resources). Results showed that positive well-being outcomes correlated with positive conservation outcomesImproved
Commons condition trendFinal outcomeThis theory looks at positive conservation outcomes, here implemented through the commons condition trend.Remained the same or Improved

Related Theories

TheoryRelationshipCharacterizing Variables
Critique of fortress conservationnested
Ecological effectiveness of MPAsrelated
Centralized conservationrelated
CAR principles for conservation area designrelated

Related Studies


Oldekop, J. A., G. Holmes, W. E. Harris, and K. L. Evans. 2015. A global assessment of the social and conservation outcomes of protected areas. Conservation Biology:n/a-n/a.