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Biodiversity is under threat at a global level, and many of the most biodiverse hotspots are in developing regions of the world. In many of these communities, livelihoods are often dependent on the same natural landscapes that support biodiversity. As a result, achieving global conservation and development goals is a priority in these regions, and therefore they attract the interest of both local and international researchers. However, research by outside, Western-based researchers can present ethical and practical challenges in these areas. Fortunately, community-based participatory research (CBPR), if managed well, can contribute to responsible conservation research in these regions. In this article, we investigate strategies to address ethical issues associated with cross-cultural conservation and development research. Our analysis draws on the experiences of a women’s village in northern Kenya and six Western researchers. Using qualitative methodologies, we identify common themes in ethical conservation and develop research including critical consciousness, relationship-building, reciprocity, and adaptive research processes. We discuss the implications for ethical CBPR and, specifically, the need for both researchers and funders to only conduct such research if they can devote the resources required to do so ethically.
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