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Who pays the price for protected areas? New website launched to expose global protected area abuses

Yesterday, I launched a new website: Conservation Watch. While conservation is crucially important, it has a dark side. No one knows how many people have been evicted to make way for National Parks. But some estimates put the figure in millions.

Indigenous Peoples and local communities in many countries continue to face human rights abuses in the name of conservation. Conservation Watch asks the question, Who pays the price for protected areas? Far too often it is indigenous peoples who end up paying the price.

The website was launched to coincide with the IUCN World Conservation Congress, currently taking place in Hawai’i.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the website develops. Please get in touch with me if you have any suggestions for new posts, comments on posts, ideas for a Guest Post, or suggestions for improving the website.

And you can follow Conservation Watch on the following social media:


Here’s the press release for the launch of Conservation Watch:

Conservation Watch

Conservation is crucial and controversial: New website launched to expose global protected area abuses

As more than 500 conservation organisations gather in Hawai’i for the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress [1], a new website that exposes the dark side of national parks and the abuses carried out in the name of habitat protection was launched today (Monday) by environmental writer and researcher, Chris Lang. [2]
Featuring a mixture of posts written by Mr Lang, guest contributors from and interviews with a variety of people working in the field of protected areas, Conservation Watch, aims to facilitate discussion about the real impacts of protected area policy and practice in the Global South. The online platform will aim to hold to account those responsible for human rights abuses and landgrabs in the name of conservation.
“The current model of conservation is too often flawed and unfair,” said Mr Lang. “With Conservation Watch we aim to shed light on how indigenous peoples and local communities continue to pay the price for conservation.”
Posts on Conservation Watch will highlight evictions and human rights abuses and also document the impact of national parks on peoples’ livelihoods. The website will also highlight positive examples of community-based conservation with the aim of encouraging a more widespread sustainable approach to habitat protection.
“There is a growing consensus that securing the rights of indigenous people and other forest-dependent communities and genuinely engaging them is one of the most effective and sustainable ways of conserving biologically-rich habitats. Despite promises made at the Durban Accord in 2003, these peoples’ rights still need to be translated into meaningful action on the ground,” Mr Lang added.
[1] The IUCN World Conservation Congress, a quadrennial event, has become the world’s largest and recurring conservation event. It is attended by Heads of State and other high-level government officials, top CEOs and business leaders, representatives from indigenous groups and leading civil society organisations of all shapes and sizes along with top scientists, academics, influencers, educators and artists from all over the globe.
[2] Chris Lang has been an environmental activist and writer since the early 1990s. He has an MSc in Forestry and Land Use from Oxford University and has worked with a range of environmental and social rights NGOs. Since 2008, he has edited, an influential website critical of carbon trading schemes such as REDD.
If you are interested in contributing to Conservation Watch or have a media enquiry, please email Chris Lang (


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  1. Great idea. Hopefully you can expose the wrongs with protected forests the way you have with REDD Watch

  2. @Friends of the Orangutans – Thanks! If you have stories of conservation going wrong (or going right!), please send them along.