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June 2004

The scope of organic agriculture, sustainable forest management and ecoforestry in protected area management

Montreal, Canada
10-14 November 2003

Protected area management, including biodiversity conservation and local community participation (especially of indigenous people) are main discussion themes of the protected areas constituency. Although relationships and alliances between local communities and conservationists are considered (The World Conservation Union - IUCN, 2002), what is less addressed are options for sustainable livelihoods within and around protected areas. Farmers and forest dwellers are the main inhabitants and users of protected areas as well as lands connecting these areas. In protected area categories where agricultural activities are allowed, there is need to consider productive activities which provide livelihoods in an equitable and environmentally-friendly way.

The ability of organic agriculture, ecoforestry and sustainable forest management to build self-generating food systems and connectedness between protected areas is addressed in this paper. Also, farmers' involvement in income-generating activities such as agro-ecotourism, is considered. This paper argues that integrated landscape planning is necessary for the effective management of protected areas and that multi-sectoral policy and planning, including the agriculture, forestry, tourism and environment sectors, have a role to play in such a collaborative resource management. The ultimate objective is to recognize the interdependence between sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation and in so doing, promoting options that address food and livelihood needs while protecting the natural heritage.

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