Tong Shi

Tong Shi’s MSc project compares local people’s experience of life around community conserved areas and nature reserves in Guanxi, China.

Photo credit: Tong Shi

Project title

Exploring people’s opinion towards different forest management strategies


Protected areas have had a key role in the efforts against biodiversity loss, covering approximately 15% of the global land area. Yet, biodiversity cannot be conserved solely through the implementation of protected areas. Community-conserved areas (CCAs) have been increasingly promoted as a complementary approach for managing biodiversity and natural resources. CCA management is thought to allow locals to decide themselves how to use the resources in the most sustainable manner possible. Although it has been argued that biodiversity conservation and improvement of local peoples’ livelihoods can be incompatible, several cases worldwide have shown that CCAs have the potential to contribute concurrently to both goals.

China has paid much attention on community conserved areas. At present, the number of CCAs is over 50,000. In 2012, Nanning city (Guangxi Province, China) started building CCAs to protect ecosystem and biodiversity. CCAs plays a very important role in establishing an environmental friendly community. The goal of this project is to explore further relationship between CCAs and local livelihoods.

Rationale & Research question

As research shows, there are many conservation areas in China now including nature reserve areas and CCAs. However, some nature reserve areas lack government support and have not achieved sustainable conservation outcomes. CCAs are considered as a new and efficient method to protect ecosystem with the participatory of local people. But there is a need to explore the effectiveness of CCAs and their impacts on local people and livelihoods. Therefore, my dissertation seeks to address the following question: what is the effectiveness of community conserved area compared to nature reserved area and what are their impacts on indigenous people.


Aidan Keane (University of Edinburgh, School of GeoSciences)
Christos Mammides (Guanxi University)

Collaborating organisations

Guangxi Biodiversity Research and Conservation Association (BRC)


MSc Environment and Development