Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Adviser

Austin, Kelly

Other advisers/committee members

Casagrande, David; Zhang, Yuping

Abstract

The destruction that human beings have caused the natural environment is so catastrophic that it has been labeled the “Sixth Extinction.” Conservation and the preservation of species and ecosystems is one way we can prevent biodiversity loss and preserve the biodiversity that enables our planet to flourish. As threats to biodiversity mount, it is imperative that social scientists explore the macro-level processes that affect conservation areas and policies. This study explores the influence of structural adjustment policies on the ability of less-developed nations to designate land for conservation. I use ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to examine the influence of structural adjustment policies on levels of terrestrial protected areas in less-developed nations. I use a sample of 55 less-developed nations for which there are data available for all variables relevant to this analysis. The results of the analyses confirm my hypothesis that nations undergoing IMF structural adjustment loans have a smaller percentage of land devoted to terrestrial protected areas than nations not undergoing International Monetary Fund structural adjustment loans. I attribute this finding to the neoliberal measures imposed by structural adjustment loans that encourage privatization and deregulation, ultimately impairing less-developed nations’ abilities to make conservation a priority.

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Sociology Commons

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