Conservation and environmental management can produce both positive and negative social impacts for local communities and resource users. Thus it is necessary to understand and adaptively manage the social impacts of conservation over time. This will improve social outcomes, engender local support and increase the overall effectiveness of conservation.
Conservation decisions increasingly involve multiple environmental and social objectives, which result in complex decision contexts with high potential for trade-offs. Improving social equity is one such objective that is often considered an enabler of successful outcomes and a virtuous ideal in itself. Despite its idealized importance in conservation policy, social equity is often highly simplified or ill-defined and is applied uncritically.