Participation of local communities in all aspects of PRCF conservation and development work is imbedded within the core values of the organization. PRCF promotes involvement of stakeholder communities in planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of projects and programs, thus creating ownership of initiatives by strengthening the role of local people in results adoption and adaptation leading to sustainability.
Two types of community conservation management
We recognize and promote two specific types of community involvement in conservation management:
- Collaborative Management – whereby local people work together with protected area authorities towards biodiversity conservation and management. The ultimate decision makers are however the government officials concerned
- Co-Management – whereby local communities are equal partners in the decision-making process, and thus community and government stakeholders jointly make decisions regarding management of the resources.
PRCF believes that these two management approaches can lead to strong, transparent, and proper conservation management, bolstering the effectiveness and sustainability of biodiversity conservation efforts.
PRCF collaborative management initiatives
We presently carry out collaborative management activities in most of the countries where we operate, and co-management programs in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia. Our objective is to invigorate these forms of collaboration to protect biodiversity to the point of conservation initiatives reaching sustainability.
In Vietnam, where we support co-management at the Nam Xuan Lac Nature Reserve, we seek full government endorsement of the approach by adopting and replicating the model elsewhere in the country. Nam Xuan Lac holds the only protected area in Vietnam where local community representatives are members of the management board. Further in Vietnam, we are in process of establishing a pilot community-managed conservation area, and the proposed Francois’ Langur Community-based Species and Habitat Conservation Area, in northern Tuyen Quang province. The protected area will safeguard the habitat and largest known population of the endangered Francois’ Langur in Vietnam.
In Cambodia, we are working to strengthen the government model of Community Conservation Areas, and have established two such areas at Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary to safeguard its conservation status through community stewardships. Further, we are working towards the establishment of a Community Fisheries Network along a key track of Srepok River in the landscape of Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, with four fisheries groups already in place and additional planned. Also in Cambodia’s Northeastern Plains Landscape, we work with local communities on collaborative conservation management of habitats key to the Giant ibis and White-shouldered Ibis, within Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary and we are currently planning for similar activities in the recently established O Yadav National Park.
In Indonesia, our co-management activities focus on protection of forest resources, where we have facilitated the provision of stewardships of forestlands amounting to almost 10,000 hectares to the local Dayak and Melayu communities at six different locations in the districts of Kapuas Hulu, Sambas, and Sintang. The program includes technical assistance to the communities into the establishment and functioning of self-help groups and cooperatives for marketing of local products and benefit sharing from conservation endeavours. Further in Indonesia, we are providing technical and financial assistance to a group of villagers who have, at they own initiative, started to protect nesting sites of endangered sea turtles at Paloh Beach in Sambas district of West Kalimantan.
Of all of the above, PRCF’s most challenging and promising community-based conservation management initiative is likely in Vietnam where we are establishing a pilot Community-based Conservation Area, which has been endorsed by a provincial and central government, and is presently under definition. The proposed conservation area will help protect the endangered Francois’ Langur, whose population is dwindling rapidly.
Though this PRCF program, we hope to harness and bolster the conservation management interests of local communities into safeguarding the biodiversity of their surrounding environment