• biodiversity hotspot;
  • compliance;
  • conservation criminology;
  • Makira Conservation Area;
  • Masoala National Park;
  • procedural justice;
  • substantive justice


Corruption affects biodiversity conservation. Mechanisms that more effectively reform corruption and mitigate negative effects of corruption on conservation are needed, especially in biodiversity hotspots such as Madagascar. Local definitions of corrupt behavior, attitudes about reforms, and motivations for noncompliance may generate deeper understanding about corruption, which in turn may advance the conservation community's thinking and invite new solutions. We conducted in-depth interviews with Malagasy residents living adjacent to the Makira/Masoala Conservation Area, querying perceptions about regional corruption, rules in use (i.e., social norms or rules in action), rule breaking, and mechanisms for reform. Most participants framed noncompliance with conservation rules as a deficit/absence (e.g., lack of knowledge of rules), defined local corruption more as an omission of duty than a commission of crime, and discussed poverty, unfairness, and diverse rules in use related to corruption. Traditional framing of corruption singularly as a lack or absence of honesty and morality or as a normative phenomenon does not seem wholly accurate at reflecting, or for thinking about, the local context. Data herein allude such inaccuracy may be most noteworthy at the level of corruption reform. Rethinking corruption in conservation crime as a blend of dimensions may liberalize the suite of reform mechanisms available to conservationists.