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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 : 2008  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 320-327

Mediating Forest Transitions: 'Grand Design' or 'Muddling Through'

1 International Union for Conservation of Nature, Rue de Mauverney 28, 1196 Gland, Switzerland
2 Forest Sciences Center, 2022-2424 Main Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T1Z4, British Columbia, Canada
3 Worldwide Fund for Nature-Canada, 1588-409 Granville St., Vancouver, V6C1TZ, British Columbia, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Jeffrey Sayer
International Union for Conservation of Nature, Rue de Mauverney 28, 1196 Gland, Switzerland

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.49195

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Present biodiversity conservation programmes in the remaining extensive forest blocks of the humid trop­ics are failing to achieve outcomes that will be viable in the medium to long term. Too much emphasis is given to what we term 'grand design'-ambitious and idealistic plans for conservation. Such plans im­plicitly oppose or restrict development and often attempt to block it by speculatively establishing paper parks. Insufficient recognition is given to the inevitable long term pressures for conversion to other land uses and to the weakness of local constituencies for conservation. Conservation institutions must build their capacity to engage with the process of change. They must constantly adapt to deal with a continuously unfolding set of challenges, opportunities and changing societal needs. This can be achieved by long term on-the-ground engagement and 'muddling through'. The range of conservation options must be enlarged to give more attention to biodiversity in managed landscapes and to mosaics composed of areas with dif­fering intensities of use. The challenge is to build the human capacity and institutions to achieve this.

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