Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
In 2004, the Peruvian government created the Alto Purus National Park and the Purus Communal Reserve as part of a larger landscape of conservation. These two protected areas occupy a territory that is considered by many of the neighboring Indigenous Peoples to overlap with their ancestral homelands. The state agencies and NGOs involved in creating and managing these protected areas claim to have followed a collaborative and participatory approach in the creation and management of the protected areas. Nevertheless, many Indigenous – and other local – Peoples consider the strict conservation regime under which these protected areas are managed to be excessive, although there is local consensus that environmental conservation is a good idea.
The main conflict stems from the fact that the creation of these protected areas has rendered illegal a planned road infrastructure project that would have connected the isolated Purus province with the rest of Peru. In addition, many of the other tensions and conflicts are related, among other things, to access to resources, access to places of cultural significance, work opportunities in the conservation business, and other opportunities created by the conservation industry in the province. Focusing on diverse local critiques to the management of the aforementioned protected areas, espoused by different segments of the local population, I will describe and explain the conflicts that have emerged around these protected areas and the diverging agendas and misunderstandings that underlie them.