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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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   Table of Contents - Current issue
October-December 2019
Volume 17 | Issue 4
Page Nos. 319-392

Online since Monday, October 14, 2019

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Shaking Hands: Balancing Tensions in the Swedish Forested Landscape p. 319
Annelie Sjölander-Lindqvist, Camilla Sandström
Wild ungulates play a key role in the management and governance of Swedish wildlife. They are primarily harvested for meat, but are also important for non-consumptive uses of wildlife such as recreation. However, due to browsing and crop raiding, ungulates also reduce the forest's economic value and make it difficult for farmers to maintain agricultural practices. While current policies and regulations clearly indicate that wildlife is to be treated as a valuable, others may disagree. This setting provided an opportunity to study the search for mutually acceptable outcomes and working relationships in parallel to the state-regulated management arrangements. The shared and disputed issues in the studied case echo the broader issues of entitlement to resources and value transformation that can stabilise but also disturb or even disrupt environmental management. The diverging interests, claims and experiences of forestry, hunting, farming, recreation, and protection, expressed in their own voices and consolidated into narratives about land, land use, and rights and obligations, can be seen as an important driver of collective action. The connections between the experiences of and the dynamics behind the decision to collaborate reveal a contested space in which the commercial wood industries, agriculture, the decentralised state, conservation, and recreational interests are all involved and must negotiate with one-another to secure their interests. The participants justify their actions symbolically, referring to an idiom of rights, the construct of forestry's importance for the public good, and the desire to be resourceful and authoritative outside the framework of state action.
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Conservation in a Crisis: Marine Resource Management Authority and Legitimacy During Political Instability in Madagascar p. 331
Merrill Baker-Médard
This study explores how the 2009 political crisis in Madagascar influenced local access to, and claims over, marine resources within marine protected areas. It focuses specifically on how different conservation actors constructed and maintained authority over each protected area. Surveys conducted in 2010 show how community-managed protected areas had a lower incidence of resource use rule infractions during the crisis than state-managed areas. Drawing from in-depth qualitative research conducted from 2009 to 2015, I argue that this occurred due to the discursive framing of 'community authority' over protected areas as well as the social relationships with, and material benefits communities received from, international conservation organisations working in the community-managed areas. In contrast, I argue that state-managed marine protected area rules were transgressed more due to the symbolic and physical ousting of state authority underpinning a fear-based relationship between the state managers and community members. Ultimately, this work points to the importance of understanding how different conservation actors construct and maintain authority over marine resources.
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Arguing Along Fault-lines: A Rhetorical Analysis of Public Divides over Wildlife Comeback Highly accessed article p. 343
Ann Van Herzele, Noelle Aarts
Across Europe, several wildlife species are making surprising comebacks. The returnees help create conservation success stories, but at the same time are subject of commotion and conflict in many countries. This article examines public discussions surrounding the returns of the red fox and the wild boar to Flanders (northern Belgium) in various media and forums, ranging from news and social media to the Flemish Parliament. The aim of the research is to provide insights into the role of rhetoric in the continuation and exacerbation of public divides. The classical theory of stasis is used as a systematic method for locating the points of disagreement within a debate and understanding the discussants' rhetorical practices at these points. The analysis reveals a constant striving for 'logic' either to reaffirm the own standpoints or to subvert those of the opponent. The article demonstrates how the discussants' efforts to provide conclusive arguments have the unplanned result of even greater tensions and distances between groups in society. In this respect, two relevant tendencies are presented that hinder opportunities for reconciling positions and novel ideas to emerge: 1) the limited elaboration and deliberation on the issues of contention; 2) the linking of these issues to socio-political relationships.
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A Sociocultural Perspective: Human Conflict with Jaguars and Pumas in Costa Rica p. 355
Jennifer Rebecca Kelly
This paper presents data about the sociocultural construction of conflict and the killing of jaguars and pumas in a part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC) of Costa Rica. Results from participant observation and 131 interviews revealed cultural differences between Ticos (non-Indigenous people) and Cabécar (Indigenous people) on four separate dimensions of conflict, where large felines were constructed as competitors, food, man-eaters, real and imagined. When compared to Ticos, Cabécar had more conflict, most likely because they live off the land and have frequent “real” encounters with felines. This study makes several contributions: 1) evidence suggests competition is not the only reason for killing large felines; motivations also include constructing them as man-eaters and as food, raising questions about the important role social and cultural factors play in solutions to conflict; 2) meanings from Cabécar are products of a traditional and modernised relationship with large felines; 3) Cabécar include jaguars as food, suggesting future research and conservation management must understand Indigenous Peoples' relations with large predators, including their diets and traditions; 4) potential for conflict may increase between Ticos and large felines as they repopulate; 5) culture is crucial to examine prior to management implementation.
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Carrying Capacity as a Tourism Management Strategy in a Marine Protected Area: A Political Ecology Analysis p. 366
Albert Llausàs, Josep Vila-Subirós, Josep Pueyo-Ros, Rosa Maria Fraguell
Natural protected areas are often required to concurrently support conservation and tourism development. Estimating the ecosystem's carrying capacity and setting up visitor access limitations is a common approach in maximising resource use to avoid environmental degradation. Our research used a case study strategy and a political ecology approach to analyse the conflict surrounding a carrying capacity-based management plan implemented in a Mediterranean marine protected area under severe pressure from scuba diving. A mixed documental and discourse analysis method based on fieldwork, grey literature and 16 semi-structured interviews with representatives of seven groups of stakeholders was used. Results indicate that although the carrying capacity approach was instrumentally supported by all groups, conventional scientific ecological knowledge played only a specious role in decision-making. Factors related to path dependency, neoliberal governance frameworks, uneven distribution of power among stakeholders and regulatory weaknesses were found to be the most influential in facilitating increased visitor pressure in the reserve. We conclude that, in order to be effective and mitigate social conflict, natural resource management strategies based on the carrying capacity concept must be complemented with a precursory assessment of the biopolitical context to align the goals of planning with the possibilities of the socially constructed environment.
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Motivational Crowding in Payments for Ecosystem Service Schemes: a Global Systematic Review p. 377
Jordan Frederick Akers, Maï Yasué
We contribute to the growing body of literature on the ecological and socio-psychological impacts of providing payments as rewards for conservation. We conducted a systematic review of 74 payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes and identified contextual factors that correlate with psychological mechanisms that enhance (”crowd-in”) or erode (”crowd-out”) autonomous motivation. Such indicators of crowding-in were more likely when schemes empowered local participants, provided in-kind non-monetary community benefits, and aimed to foster feelings of autonomy. Schemes that thwarted feelings of autonomy correlated with indicators of motivational crowding-out. Although motivational crowding had no effect on ecological success, indicators of crowding-in positively predicted social success (χ2 = 8.60, n = 48, p = 0.003) and crowding-out negatively predicted social success (χ2 = 9.59, n = 47, p = 0.002). Compared to past studies highlighting the negative impacts of extrinsic rewards on autonomous motivation, our study provides a more nuanced perspective and demonstrates that extrinsic incentives such as payments can promote crowding-in of autonomous motivation if schemes are designed equitably and provide opportunities for autonomous decision-making. Our study demonstrates how the application of psychological theories can contribute to the design of fair and effective PES schemes.
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The Anthropology of Conservation NGOs: Rethinking the Boundaries p. 390
Katja Neves
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