Indigenous peoples’ participation in the co-management of protected areas is recognised as essential for conserving both cultural and biological diversity. While this practice is increasingly common, few studies have quantitatively evaluated the efficacy of these initiatives. Here we examine levels of knowledge and involvement among the Agta, a hunter-gatherer population who co-manage the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, the largest protected area in the Philippines. We find that the Agta generally possess low levels of knowledge about the protected area they are supposed to co-manage. Participation in park management is hampered by several factors, including a lack of cultural sensitivity regarding the Agta’s foraging lifestyle among park officials and little political will to realistically empower and support the Agta as co-managers. Recommendations to strengthen Agta participation – and indigenous peoples’ participation in protected area management more widely – are made to help protect the world’s remaining cultural and biological diversity.
- Indigenous peoples
- Protected areas