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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 22-43

Whims of the Winds of Time? Emerging Trends in Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Area Management


1 Department of Anthropology and Project Officer, Centre for International Cooperation, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
2 School of Government, University of the Western Cape, South Africa and Arid Climate Adaptation and Cultural Innovation in Africa (ACACIA), Ethnology Institute, University of Koln, Germany.

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De Boelelaan 1081c-Room Z121, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

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This article reviews narratives and trends in biodiversity conserva­tion and protected area (PA) management and examines contestations within and among them in the light of developments within the global political econ­omy. Its argument starts with the assumption that trends in biodiversity con­servation and PA management are, in large part, determined by global political and economic developments. The global political economy deter­mines how both policy issues inherent to the conservation and development debate need to continuously be re-operationalised in order to remain politi­cally acceptable. This argument is used to identify three recent trends in con­servation, which we have termed 'neoliberal conservation', 'bioregional conservation' and 'hijacked conservation'. By illustrating these trends with empirical data from eastern and southern Africa, we aim to enhance the un­derstanding and appreciation of macrosocial, economic and political dynam­ics-both constraints and opportunities-that impinge on conservation and development. In turn, this understanding could contribute to a better 'ma­noeuvrability' for the management and success of more technical initiatives that aim to improve conservation of biodiversity and PA management.


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