Is bigger better? The impact of marine protected area expansion on community-based conservation
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Global, national and local institutions are adopting coastal management strategies that attempt to facilitate conservation without undermining socioeconomic development. Recently, two global conservation trends have developed that attempt to address prevailing issues of poverty and environmental degradation – community-based conservation and conservation networks. Using a political ecology lens, I examine the intersection of these trends in the local context of Pemba Island. Through fieldwork, textual analysis and literature reviews, I investigate how a community-based conservation association has been impacted by the establishment of a marine conservation network. In theory, community-based conservation and marine conservation networks offer solutions to the failures of fortress conservation and sectoral management. In practice, this case study demonstrates that these lofty objectives are difficult to achieve. These findings contribute to emerging research into the social dynamics of scaling up marine conservation areas and suggest that the success of marine conservation networks hinges on meaningful community participation.