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2008| July-September | Volume 6 | Issue 3
June 26, 2009
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Nature, Conflict and Biodiversity Conservation in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
July-September 2008, 6(3):211-224
Much of the research concerning biosphere reserves has focused on problems of ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation rather than the preservation of an ecosystem in which humans play an int egral part. Local people often oppose such protected areas because traditional economic and subsistence opportunities will be lost. Thus, there exists a tension between globalised conservation efforts and their unwanted local economic and cultural effects. This research uses the case of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (NDBR) in the Garhwal Himalayas of India to explore how conflicts over biosphere reserve management are grounded in competing social constructions of nature, reflected in discourse and translated into resource management ideals. This article employs multiple methods to uncover how competing conceptions of nature, manifest through discourses of nature, influence ideas of how the reserve should be managed. Local populations seek to conserve biodiversity through livelihoods while the policies that govern the NDBR seek to limit such activities, creating conflict. Helping policy makers to understand that local ideas of resource management are based in ideas of a sacred landscape experienced through communal livelihood activities may serve to create conservation policies that will accommodate local people and help to preserve biodiversity.
Environmental Issues in India: A Reader
July-September 2008, 6(3):271-272
Seeking Social Equity in National Parks: Experiments with Evaluation in Canada and South Africa
Joleen A Timko, Terre Satterfield
July-September 2008, 6(3):238-254
Many national parks (NPs) and protected areas (PAs) worldwide are operating under difficult social and political conditions, including poor and often unjust relations with local communities. Multiple initiatives have emerged as a result, including co-management regimes and an increased emphasis on the involvement of indigenous people in management and conservation strategies more broadly. Yet, controversy over what constitutes an appropriate role for local people persists, and little research has been conducted as yet to systematically evaluate the extent to which NPs are socially (and not just ecologically) effective. This paper discusses a first attempt to examine the efficacy with which NPs address social equity, including property and human rights, and the relationship of indigenous people and NP managers. The results from an evaluation of equity in a purposive sample of six NPs in Canada and South Africa are presented. All but one of the case study NPs is found to be achieving or moving towards equity. In particular, NPs with more comprehensive co-management and support from neighbouring indigenous groups demonstrate higher equity scores across a variety of indicators, whereas NPs with lower levels of co-management do less well. NPs with settled land claims have not necessarily been more equitable overall, and a few NPs have been co-managed in name only.
Lessons from Two Local Extinctions: Sariska and Kailadevi (Ranthambhore) in Rajasthan, India
G Viswanatha Reddy
July-September 2008, 6(3):256-262
The local extinction of the tiger
from the Sariska National Park (NP) in India triggered a series of reactions, actions and policy prescriptions. The Tiger Task Force of the Government of India considered this to be a failure of the state machinery in controlling poaching. The Government of Rajasthan adopted the viewpoint that people living within the sanctuary were responsible for the crisis and revived relocation plans to shift people from the NP. The non-governmental organisations' engaged in ecological sociology considered the state government's move to relocate people from within the sanct uary a knee jerk reaction and argued that relocation was not the most desired step to conserve the remaining wildlife. This chain reaction of various actors brought back the issue of people within NPs, their impact on wildlife and options for relocation to create inviolate spaces. Preceding the Sariska incident, tigers had also become locally extinct from the Kailadevi Wildlife Sanctuary (the buffer area of the Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve), which has often been promoted as a successful model of participatory conservation. Kailadevi has people-initiated natural management institutions and additionally, through the World Bank funded India Eco-development Project, the government invested heavily to support these instit utions. Despite such favourable environs, this sanctuary could no longer sustain the tiger and its prey. In this response to the debate on relocation from protected areas, I revisit the issue of people within NPs, and the co-existence agenda for humans and wildlife. Using a scientific study conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India as the basis, I demonstrate that the Kailadevi case confirms the dictum that human pressures even under well defined controlled mechanisms may be incompatible with wildlife conservation.
A Comparative Study of Community-based Sea Turtle Management in Palau: Key Factors for Successful Implementation
Julie M Risien, Bryan Tilt
July-September 2008, 6(3):225-237
This article investigates social, political and cultural aspects of sea turtle management led by the Tobian community at Helen Reef in the Republic of Palau. We use participant observation, unstructured interviews and examination of community -based natural resource management literature to compare and contrast the Tobian community with several other communities in Palau in order to identify some of the underlying factors that we believe contributed to the successful implementation of the Tobian community-based programme. These factors include: robust structure of local and extra-local partnerships; remote location of the resource and small scale of the managing community; realised community benefits in terms of jobs and improved capacity to monitor and manage natural resources; adaptive capacity and autonomy in decision-making; and strong connections to traditional natural resource management systems. Sea turtle conservation and management is a large scale issue; preventing further decline of endangered sea turtles will require management at multiple scales. For the Tobian community, success may be attributable to several key factors that come together to produce a decentralised community-based programme that operates with an adaptive, collaborative and bottom-up structure. This model may be applicable to comparable communities; it is, however, important to recognise that diverse societies will have a variety of formulas for success.
Relocation from Wildlife Reserves in the Greater and Trans-Himalayas: Is it Necessary?
Yash Veer Bhatnagar
July-September 2008, 6(3):263-270
The Greater and Trans-Himalayan tracts are cold deserts that have severe seasonal and resource scarce environments. Covering the bulk of Indian Himalayas, they are a rich repository of biodiversity values and ecosystem services. The region has a large protected area (PA) network which has not been completely effective in conserving these unique values. The human population densities are much lower (usually < 1 per sq km) than in most other parts of the country (over 300 to a sq km). How ever, even such small populations can come into conflict with strict PA laws that demand large inviolate areas, which can mainly be achieved through relocation of the scattered settlements. In this paper , I reason that in this landscape relocation is not a tenable strategy for conservation due to a variety of reasons. The primary ones are that wildlife, including highly endangered ones are pervasive in the larger landscape (unlike the habitat 'islands' of the forested ecosystems) and existing large PAs usually encompass only a small proportion of this range. Similarly, traditional use by people for marginal cultivation, biomass extraction and pastoralism is also as pervasive in this landscape. There does exist pockets of conflict and these are probably increasing owing to a variety of changes relat ing to modernisation. However, scarce resources, the lack of alternatives and the traditional practice of clear-cut division of all usable areas and pastures between communities make resettlement of people outside PAs extremely difficult. It is reasoned that given the widespread nature of the wildlife and pockets of relatively high density, it is important to prioritise these smaller areas for conservation in a scenario where they form a mosaic of small 'cores' that are more effectively maintained with local support and that enable wildlife to persist. These ideas have recently gained widespread acceptance in both government and conservation circles and may soon become part of national strategy for these areas.
Changing Forests: Collective Action, Common Property and Coffee in Honduras
July-September 2008, 6(3):273-274
Deforesting the Earth: From Prehistory to Global Crisis
July-September 2008, 6(3):274-276
Relocation from Protected Areas
Mahesh Rangarajan, Ghazala Shahabuddin
July-September 2008, 6(3):255-255
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