Land grabbing within a protected area: The experience of local communities with conservation and forestry activities in Los Esteros del Ibera, Argentina

Nienke Busscher*, Constanza Parra, Frank Vanclay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
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Protected areas are increasingly being created, managed and owned by private actors, resulting in land grabs that are often at the expense of local control, livelihoods and biodiversity. Changes in land ownership and land use lead to new governance arrangements, which are full of paradoxes, alter ownership responsibilities, and create clashes of perspectives over how nature should be valued and utilised. Conversely, the presence of new actors potentially also brings about socio-environmental awareness and can open-up arenas for dialogue and multi-level collaboration. Using qualitative research methods, we considered two case studies in the protected area, Los Esteros del Thera, in the north-east of Argentina: the Harvard Management Company's investments in industrial tree plantations; and the conservation project of Douglas Tompkins (i.e. the Conservation Land Trust). Their activities have increased the complexity of socio-political dynamics in the region, leading to contradictions and conflicts, as well as to a strengthened commitment to manage the Thera region better. Nevertheless, local communities perceived little difference between green grabbing and land grabbing, with all land transfers increasing inequality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)572-582
Number of pages11
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2018


  • Green grabbing
  • Extractivism
  • Neoliberal conservation
  • Environmental justice
  • Private protected areas
  • Political ecology
  • Social impacts
  • Latin America

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