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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 354-366

"The White Men Bought the Forests": Conservation and Contestation in Guinea-Bissau, Western Africa


Tropical Research Institute, Lisbon, Portugal and African Studies Center, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Marina Padrão Temudo
Tropical Research Institute, Lisbon, Portugal and African Studies Center, University of Oxford
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.105563

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Both fortress and community-based approaches to conservation have shown poor (sometimes negative) results in terms of environmental protection and poverty reduction. Either approach can also trigger grassroots resistance. This article is centered on an allegedly 'community-based' conservation and development project (and its successive follow-ups) intended to create a national park in Guinea-Bissau. It discusses how external agents have constructed the need for intervention, and explores the negative consequences of the practical solutions adopted for a non-existing problem, as well as the on-going shifting and multiple responses of local people. The article aims to demonstrate that supposedly community-based approaches can be as authoritarian and ineffective as fortress conservation, and that resistance generated by them can be fruitless in terms of collective empowerment and welfare, while also being harmful for the environment. The only genuine winner is the aid industry.


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