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Conservation and Society
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Conservation and Society
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BOOK REVIEW
Year : 2008  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 335-336

Book reviews


Institute for Development Management and Policy, The University of Manchester, Arthur Lewis Building, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Daniel Brockington
Institute for Development Management and Policy, The University of Manchester, Arthur Lewis Building, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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Date of Web Publication25-Jun-2009
 


How to cite this article:
Brockington D. Book reviews. Conservat Soc 2008;6:335-6

How to cite this URL:
Brockington D. Book reviews. Conservat Soc [serial online] 2008 [cited 2019 Sep 16];6:335-6. Available from: http://www.conservationandsociety.org/text.asp?2008/6/4/335/55787

Managing Protected Areas. A Global Guide



Lockwood, M., G.L. Worboys and A. Kothari (eds.). Managing Protected Areas. A Global Guide. London: Earthscan. 2006. xxx+802 pp. USD 99.50 (Paperback). ISBN 1-84407-303-3



and

People, Protected Areas and Global Change. Participatory Conservation in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe



Galvin, M. and T. Haller (eds.). People, Protected Areas and Global Change. Participatory Conservation in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe . Bern: University of Bern. 2008. 560 pp. EUR 30.00 (Hardcover). ISBN 3- 905835-06-9



Protected area (PA) management is increasingly developing the tools required to meet the global scope and ambitions that conservation demands. Today, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) models are mapping PA distribution and deficiencies, preliminary overviews of patterns in eviction from PAs are being undertaken and nascent attempts are being made to explore the social impacts of PAs. The two volumes reviewed here extend the reach of writings about PAs, in different, but complimentary ways.

Managing protected areas. A global guide is a major tome, and one of the principal outlets of the discussions of the Fifth World Parks Congress in Durban in 2003. That meeting was notable for the plethora of vocal critics of PAs, whose presence left many conservationists at the meeting feeling confused and threatened. For an insight into the contrasting views at work see the essays on the Congress by Peter Brosius and John Terborgh in Conservation Biology (Brosius 2004; Terborgh 2004). To capture the diversity of that meeting and to inform PA managers globally is no easy task. The book makes a brave and largely successful attempt at it. I hope it marks the beginning of a new trend in writings about conservation by conservationists.

Managing protected areas certainly gives value for money. A great deal of time and expertise has gone into it, and it is just over 800 pages long. It comprises 26 chapters and seven appendices covering all sorts of topics, from governance, finance, managing staff, tourists, cultural heritage, collaboration, safety and global contexts. The writing has been led by over 20 different writers and editors, many of whom are world leaders in their fields, with many more contributing case studies and others reviewing the volume. Many chapters represent the state of the art. In addition the appendices provide a useful set of resources, with excellent chronologies of PAs, and data on their extent by region and category.

The scope and ambition of this collection is great. At times this means that it skates rather thinly over important issues. I would have liked to read much more about how systematic PA networks can be designed and supported in a way which is cost effective. This is one of the major developments of recent years. Perhaps it belongs to the volume covering the next Congress. Conversely, some of the entries retreated into technocratic details rather than broaching some of the bigger issues. I did not think it necessary to write, for example, that storms 'do not respect the boundaries of protected areas' (p. 491), and when I read that 'the influence of gravity causes loose material to move down slope' (p. 493), I thought that the authors must have been rather tired when they came to that part of the book.

But these are quibbles. The encouraging trend is that this book actually grapples with some of the main practical dilemmas that conservationists face day-to-day on the ground. As the protests at the World Parks Congress revealed, conservation is not always particularly popular. If it was, then the world would be in a much better shape than it currently is, and tackling environmental issues would be an easier task. PAs in particular can be unpopular because of the constraints that they impose on their former residents and neighbours. In that light therefore the chapters on 'Collaborative management', 'Community conserved areas' and 'Building support for protected areas' were particularly useful because they recognised explicitly and dealt with the fact that, as well as doing all sorts of good things, PAs have to cope with the misfortunes that they distribute.

But it is telling that the benefits of PAs get a chapter to themselves (chapter 4), whereas the problems they cause do not, and are instead only occasionally mentioned in relatively few places. The last chapter of the book, which provides a summary and manifesto of some aspects of the book, demonstrates the difficulties in facing up to the problems that conservation causes. Conservation's preferred mode of writing about itself is as a moral crusade. It is a good thing, it does good things and the world would be a better place with more conservation. Hence we read that 'protected areas are one of the most important land and sea uses on Earth' (p. 677), and that they provide benefits to economies, the poor, health, education, politics and civil security. We learn that they provide valuable resources to those living in and around them. Reading these lines one wonders why PA managers ever face any problems at all other than tourists causing overcrowding. The catch is that protection sometimes requires, or at least means, denying the very uses which have just been mentioned. It is only later (p. 680) that the authors explicitly recognise that there can be 'considerable short term opportunity costs' following PA establishment.

I do believe that the world would be a better place in all sorts of ways if it was more conserved. Getting there will require facing up to the uncomfortable facts of conservation's unpopularity. I do not think that repeating conservation's ideology about itself will ultimately get the movement very far. The PA managers who I meet and talk to spend a good deal of their time wrestling with the problems conservation can cause. The more books like this can tackle these issues head on the better. I was encouraged that Managing protected areas has begun to do that.

Galvin and Haller's People, protected areas and global change. Participatory conservation in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe is a very different sort of book from Managing protected areas . The latter is covered with beautiful pictures of trees, shrines, cave drawings and amazing landscapes. The former has a crude but colourful picture of armed guards confronting and fighting with villagers over poached animals, and fish and grass gathering. The picture was found on display outside the Waza National Park in Cameroon and shows relations before participatory management was introduced. The contests of conservation are integral to the substance of this volume all the way through.

Galvin and Haller's task is to provide some system and order to the diversity of experience that PA research is throwing up in different parts of the world. This book compiles the findings of 13 different research groups from the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research North South. Its case studies are drawn from Latin America (4), Africa (5) Asia (3) and Europe (1). This is a refreshingly broad coverage, but difficult to review. Happily one of the chapters is about the Mkomazi Game Reserve (now just upgraded to a national park) in Tanzania with which I am familiar. It is excellent-strong on the details and the broader issues and accurate in (almost) every way as far as I can tell. If the other case studies are as good as that then this will prove to be a valuable collection indeed, just for the scholarship and care found in each chapter.

However, the real contribution of this book is its comparative framework, which is in a lengthy chapter led by Haller that comes after the case studies. I have long complained that research into the social impacts of PAs is unsystematic and disjointed (Brockington & Schmidt-Soltau 2004). Much of the literature is remarkably cursory; the few detailed studies cannot be easily related to other parts of the world. In this context therefore, a framework which attempts to make different case studies commensurable is both valuable and exciting.

Haller and Galvin's framework covers historical and institutional aspects, as well as economic, political and ecological effects. They examine levels of participation and the sustainability of interventions. A high quality map (pp. 524-525) shows at a glance how relatively beneficial and participatory PAs can be outside Africa, where the strongest benefits are ecological, and the participation appears to exist mainly in theory. Equally clear are the charts (pp. 543-544) which compare case studies against axes of participation and sustainability. Finally, there is also an illuminating discussion on the role of ideology, discourse and narrative in creating 'pools of legitimacy' (p. 532), which are called upon in different ways by stakeholders in debates about PAs. Indeed this argument helps also to understand some of the entries in Managing protected areas , which can be seen as attempts to assert the moral and ideological legitimacy of conservation.

My only quibble is that the authors of this chapter subscribe to the principle of local support, believing that the unpopularity of fortress conservation must make it sustainable, because it is so expensive. This can be true, but there are several documented cases which suggest otherwise. This again is not a substantial criticism. What matters is that we now have a framework which will make it easier to examine this principle.

I recommend, therefore, both books to readers. There is bound to be something valuable in Managing protected areas . It will be a useful resource for libraries. People, protected areas and global change. Participatory conservation in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe is a bold and successful attempt to introduce some system and organisation into studies on the consequences of PAs. It would be useful to all students of conservation.[3]

 
   References Top

1.Brockington, D. and K. Schmidt-Soltau 2004. The social and environmental impacts of wilderness and development. Oryx 38(2): 140- 142.  Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Brosius, J.P. 2004. Indigenous peoples and protected areas at the World Parks Congress. Conservation Biology 18(3): 609-612.  Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Terborgh, J. 2004. Reflections of a scientist on the World Parks Congress. Conservation Biology 18(3): 619-620.  Back to cited text no. 3      




 

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