• Open Access

Community conserved areas: policy issues in historic and contemporary context


Fikret Berkes, Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada. E-mail: berkes@cc.umanitoba.ca


Indigenous and community conserved areas (ICCAs) are natural and/or modified ecosystems containing biodiversity values, ecological services, and cultural values, voluntarily conserved by indigenous and other communities through local or customary laws. They are found in both terrestrial and marine areas; they range in size from <1 ha sacred groves to >30,000 km2 indigenous territories in Brazil. ICCAs should be recognized for what they may contribute to national and global conservation systems, but there is little documentation of their potential or discussion of their policy implications. Here I examine the historic and contemporary context of ICCAs, provide examples, and raise policy issues related to: assessing the conservation benefits of ICCAs, integrating traditional knowledge into protected area management, finding the right mix of governance regimes, and dealing with challenges faced by them.