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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Abel, Troy D.

Second Advisor

Rossiter, David A.

Third Advisor

Tuxill, John D.


Establishing protected areas is one of the primary methods of protecting wildlife and preserving biodiversity and habitat worldwide. However, in recent years it has been recognized that not all protected areas are successful, for reasons ranging from a lack of resources to properly manage them, to the fact that areas are often too small to sustain animal populations, with many animals ranging beyond the borders of the protected areas. These issues have been addressed in a number of ways, including encouraging community involvement in management efforts and the development of conservation corridors and buffer zones to increase habitat availability. Collaborations between community members, university researchers, government agencies charged with managing protected areas and other interested parties including local non-profits, are an intriguing option for trying to meet the needs of the largest number of people while protecting endangered resources. This project is a case study of collaborative resource management, specifically the management of a population of Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) and their habitat, in and around Carara National Park in the Central Pacific Conservation Area of Costa Rica. Because so much of the habitat for Scarlet Macaws is located outside of Carara National Park's boundaries, park staff has been working to develop partnerships with local communities and a local non-profit to improve management efforts. This thesis looks at the intersection of biogeography and human geography using a two pronged approach to assess the potential for collaborative resource management of the Central Pacific Scarlet Macaw population. I use common-pool resource theory as a framework to explore the current status of the Central Pacific Scarlet Macaw population and the local community members that live in the area. I also use value-belief-norm theory as a framework to assess the beliefs of the pilot study project participants and the potential for support of, and active involvement in, future collaborative resource management efforts. Data gathered through background research, participant observation and responses to a questionnaire showed the Central Pacific Scarlet Macaw resource system, which includes the local community members along with the Scarlet Macaws and their habitat, shares many of the attributes associated with the emergence of cooperation. The pilot project participants expressed interest in future participation and acknowledged the importance of community involvement in conservation and management efforts of the Scarlet Macaw resource system and the environment in general. The success of such collaborative resource management strategies is contingent upon their impact on the residents of communities where outreach occurs and this research shows that outreach efforts have had an impact.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Scarlet macaw--Costa Rica--Reserva Biológica de Carara; Protected areas--Costa Rica--Reserva Biológica de Carara--Citizen participation; National parks and reserves--Costa Rica--Reserva Biológica de Carara--Management

Geographic Coverage

Reserva Biológica de Carara (Costa Rica)




masters theses




Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this thesis for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author's written permission.

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