Biodiversity Conservation in People Dominated Landscapes


The Geographies of Biodiversity Conservation in People Dominated Landscapes – A Case Study of the Payamino Project in the Sumaco Region of Ecuador

This report describes and evaluates work carried out with the Payamino Project in the Sumaco Region of Ecuador from June to September 2007. The conservation of biological diversity has emerged over the past thirty years as one of the most important and critical global challenges confronting national governments and world bodies alike.

Countries throughout the world are facing increasing biodiversity loss as a result of human activities and in an attempt to placate this loss numerous protected areas of varying designations have been created. However, “the creation of a protected area can have strong implications on the livelihoods of people inhabiting the forest and depending on it, especially those caught within its borders.” (Mbile et al, 2005:1)

This report provides an up-to-date review of the emerging Geographies of Conservation concerned with the increasing expansion of protected areas into people dominated landscapes. It considers in detail the Reserva Biosfera Sumaco and the differing management zones in this area, focusing on the role of a community based conservation programme: the Payamino Project. I discuss and evaluate the project’s aims and objectives, the current management structure, the problems and successes of the project and contemplate the future goals. The report concludes by offering four immediate and two long term recommendations necessary to continue the Project’s success.


This thesis was submitted in part fulfilment of the regulations for the degree of Master of Research in Human Geography in the Department of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK.