Rethinking participatory management: towards ecoregion-based conservation in Trinidad & Tobago

Ainka Granderson

As the most rapidly industrializing country in the Caribbean region, Trinidad and Tobago’s biodiversity is under ever increasing threat. Protected areas are seen as key in conserving the rich biodiversity, and a comprehensive protected area system is currently being established. Participatory planning and management have been institutionalized under this system, and there is a thrust to ensure biodiversity conservation beyond protected areas. Collaborating with local communities and other stakeholders is seen as important to ensure effective conservation. However, participatory approaches are proving a challenge to implement, particularly at the landscape-scale. Further, the impacts on biodiversity conservation and local livelihoods have not been systematically evaluated.  In collaboration with stakeholders in protected area management in Trinidad and Tobago, an analytical framework to determine effective participatory strategies for conservation and the conditions for success was designed.