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On the evaluation, monitoring and management of law enforcement patrols in protected areas

Dancer, Anthony; (2019) On the evaluation, monitoring and management of law enforcement patrols in protected areas. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Ranger-led law enforcement patrols are the primary response to illegal use of natural resources in protected areas globally. To date, however, the effectiveness of patrolling as a means to reduce illegal activity has been neglected as a subject of study. Relatedly, there has been no rigorous evaluation of tools which aim to increase patrol effectiveness through patrol monitoring and management. In this thesis, I explore the use of patrols for reducing illegal activity, and evaluate a popular tool for increasing patrol effectiveness: SMART. SMART involves ranger-based monitoring – collection of data by rangers on patrol – of both natural resource use and patrol activity. I exploit data collected via SMART to investigate the extent of patrolling conducted in terrestrial protected areas globally. I show that patrol presence within and across sites is typically very low, is constrained by limited budgets, and frequently falls short of industry targets. I also use SMART data to explore whether and in what contexts deterrence – the primary mechanism through which patrols are assumed to reduce illegal activity – operates in practice. I focus on four protected areas with relatively high patrol presence and find that patrols may have deterred illegal activity in three sites, but the effect was weak and inconsistent. I draw on these results and guidance from other policy arenas to evaluate SMART. I illustrate the causal pathways through which SMART aims to reduce illegal activity, using a theory of change approach. I develop evidence to verify SMART’s theory of change, including whether the intervention was implemented as intended, and whether the chain of expected results occurred. I also develop a novel framework for describing heterogeneity among implemented interventions. I find that patrol presence is improving in SMART sites. Yet inconsistent implementation of management activities, and mixed evidence for deterrence, precluded a causal claim for SMART at this time. My findings suggest that patrol activity globally is insufficient to either reduce or monitor illegal activity in protected areas. SMART may improve patrol presence, and might improve it further through more faithful implementation of management. However, inconsistent evidence of deterrence, even in sites with high patrol presence, highlights the need for fundamental research into whether and how well-managed and socially just patrolling can be effective. My findings also demonstrate that robust monitoring of threats in protected areas, independent of patrolling, is essential.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: On the evaluation, monitoring and management of law enforcement patrols in protected areas
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10074908
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