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2009| April-June | Volume 7 | Issue 2
January 2, 2010
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The Intersections of Biological Diversity and Cultural Diversity: Towards Integration
Jules Pretty, Bill Adams, Fikret Berkes, Simone Ferreira de Athayde, Nigel Dudley, Eugene Hunn, Luisa Maffi, Kay Milton, David Rapport, Paul Robbins, Eleanor Sterling, Sue Stolton, Anna Tsing, Erin Vintinnerk, Sarah Pilgrim
April-June 2009, 7(2):100-112
There is an emerging recognition that the diversity of life comprises both biological and cultural diversity. In the past, however, it has been common to make divisions between nature and culture, arising partly out of a desire to control nature. The range of interconnections between biological and cultural diversity are reflected in the growing variety of environmental sub-disciplines that have emerged. In this article, we present ideas from a number of these sub-disciplines. We investigate four bridges linking both types of diversity (beliefs and worldviews, livelihoods and practices, knowledge bases and languages, and norms and institutions), seek to determine the common drivers of loss that exist, and suggest a novel and integrative path forwards. We recommend that future policy responses should target both biological and cultural diversity in a combined approach to conservation. The degree to which biological diversity is linked to cultural diversity is only beginning to be understood. But it is precisely as our knowledge is advancing that these complex systems are under threat. While conserving nature alongside human cultures presents unique challenges, we suggest that any hope for saving biological diversity is predicated on a concomitant effort to appreciate and protect cultural diversity.
Change We can Believe in? Reviewing Studies on the Conservation Impact of Popular Participation in Forest Management
Jens Friis Lund, Kulbhushan Balooni, Thorkil Casse
April-June 2009, 7(2):71-82
This article presents a review of methods in 60 empirical studies on forest conservation impact of popular participation in forest management. The review illustrates a high degree of variance in methods among the studies, and shows that a majority of the studies could benefit from a stronger focus on one or more of the following three areas: (i) the empirical verification and characterisation of popular participation as it exists on the ground, (ii) the indicators of impact and the method used to assess them, and (iii) the disentanglement of the effect of popular participation from other developments in the study area that may impact on forest condition. The variation in methods inhibits comparisons and meta-analyses, as well as questions the basis on which policy recommendations on popular participation in forest management are made. Based on the review, we provide recommendations for future evaluations of the conservation impact of popular participation in forest management.
Social-Natural Landscape Reorganised: Swedish Forest-edge Farmers and Wolf Recovery
April-June 2009, 7(2):130-140
The politics and the underlying reasons behind the recovery of the Scandinavian wolf population are increasingly contested. According to official policy, wolves should be guaranteed a place in the Swedish natural world. However, the conflict over whether Sweden should host a wolf population sets views on biodiversity and sustainable development against the perspective that local traditions and livelihoods are threatened by the return of wolves. These diverging environmental visions can be seen as competing interests and understandings of nature and wildlife. The desire of the state and nature conservation organisations to implement measures to provide conditions fostering wolf survival are counterbalanced by local action groups and community residents struggling to maintain conditions for conserving summer pastures, opportunities for hunting with sporting dogs, and other recreational activities such as mushroom- and berry-picking. Not only are these activities considered to have high natural and cultural value, the European Union (EU) has stated that small-scale farming is important for maintaining the landscape and safeguarding the survival of values associated with 'agri-environmental' habitats. The conflict between the interest groups is essentially about the access to and use of environmental resources. Squeezed between policies safeguarding wolf populations, preventing cruelty to animals and implementing activities required by the EU agricultural programme, farmers in areas with resident wolf populations have come to take part in processes that may reinforce rural identity.
The Kaziranga National Park: Dynamics of Social and Political History
April-June 2009, 7(2):113-129
Almost after a century of experimenting, Kaziranga National Park is now a well-known example of the success of wildlife conservation. Conservationists have no hesitation in ascribing the success of this story to the careful application of the science of wildlife conservation. A large section of the Assamese middle class would like to associate the institution as organic to their success story. For the state too it is a matter of pride. This journey of success is not a linear growth of success and a re-look into the social and political history of this national park will help us understand the complexities underlying these claims. The ideological paradigms of wildlife conservation in Kaziranga National Park have changed significantly over a long period. Since its establishment as a game sanctuary in the early twentieth century and gradually being given the status of a national park, Kaziranga has experienced varied forms of conservation agenda. Rather than a mere technological explanation for the success of the conservation project of Kaziranga, more of it was based on the social and political history.
Environmental Histories and Emerging Fisheries Management of the Upper Zambezi River Floodplains
James G Abbott, Lisa M Campbell
April-June 2009, 7(2):83-99
In response to a widespread decline in fisheries, scientists and policy makers have constructed models outlining the biological and social drivers that cause changes in fishing intensity and methods identified with overfishing. The models also address the consequences of overfishing, namely changes in biomass, trophic structure and ecosystem resilience, as well as increased poverty and vulnerability of the fishers, particularly in the developing world. While these models have emerged from marine and coastal fisheries, they have also been used to identify overfishing in floodplain fisheries and to guide management recommendations. In this article, we critique the assumptions of a global overfishing narrative describing the serial depletion of fish species, increased fishing effort and fisher dependence, which are considered valid by various stakeholders in the floodplain fisheries of the Upper Zambezi River. We find that researchers highlight how the inherent variability of the floodplain environment defies the simple diagnoses of overfishing, based on changes in effort and methods or livelihood. However, the views of policy makers and local users on the 'problem of overfishing' are that the fish biomass is declining and intensive fishing methods are to blame, which largely resonate with the narrative. We consider how differing emphasis on parts of the narrative by stakeholders has implications for management, and what such differences tell us about the malleability of narratives.
Two Views of the Serengeti: One True, One Myth
Charles E Kay
April-June 2009, 7(2):145-148
Measuring and Managing the Environmental Cost of Coffee Production in Latin America
Victor Julio Chavez Arce, Raul Raudales, Rich Trubey, David I King, Richard B Chandler, Carlin C Chandler
April-June 2009, 7(2):141-144
Coffee is a major international commodity, and because of this, coffee production has the potential for considerable global impacts on the environment. These impacts can include the consumption of energy, water, land and the loss of native forest. Here we quantify these costs using Costa Rica as a case study, and describe an initiative undertaken at the Montes de Oro Cooperative in which these impacts are reduced substantially through the development and application of alternative technologies. We show how these processes reduce the consumption of resources, and also reduce economic costs to the farmer, thus providing a market-based incentive for conservation. The initiatives undertaken at Montes de Oro can provide a model for the future, for reducing the environmental costs of coffee production, while simultaneously improving the economic conditions of the people in coffee producing regions.
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